Ammons Speaks Out on Hazing

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

Tallahassee, FL -- May 29, 2012 --

Police interviews with band members who were hazed the same night that FAMU Drum major Robert Champion died from hazing, show how ingrained the practice is among band members.

“I’d be mad if they really didn’t let me cross,” band member Lisette Sanchez said.

Police also expressed surprise that some band members on the deadly trip weren’t even students.

“How’s that possible? How does that work?” Orange County Detective Vance Voyles asked.

“I loved the band so I kept marching,” band member Caleb Jackson replied.

Next week, FAMU Trustees will get a comprehensive recommendation from the school’s president, aimed at ending the hazing culture once and for all.

“We think that it’s important for us to have like a compliance officer to deal with some of the issues we have around non-students performing in the band to ensure that everyone is properly enrolled,” FAMU president, Dr. James Ammons, said. “That they are making sufficient academic progress.”

A web site and possibly a hot line will be recommended to make it easier to report hazing incidents.

“So we’ll have someone like a hazing czar, if you will, who will monitor the student organizations on the campus,” Ammons said.

The FAMU president wouldn’t discuss the evidence that’s come out so far in the criminal case, saying it could impact the lawsuit that’s expected to be filed by Robert Champion’s parents.

Ammons also would not speak to whether the University has reached out to the drum majors family about settling the yet-to-be-filed lawsuit.

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