FAMU officials, band held anti-hazing meeting days before Champion's death | News
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Just two days before Florida A&M University student Robert Champion died after suspected hazing, two university officials met with band members in an attempt to dissuade them from the practice.
The meeting was called by university officials after Dr. Julian White suspended 26 band members for involvement in hazing. Several of those suspensions were connected to the alleged hazing of Bria Hunter, a freshman clarinet player who was hospitalized with a fractured thigh bone.
FAMU Police Chief Calvin Ross and Henry Kirby, Dean of Students, spoke with the 400-plus member band the day before they were to travel to Orlando for the Florida Classic, according to Dr. White.
On Nov. 19, Champion, a 26-year-old DeKalb County native, was found unconcious on a bus outside of the band's Orlando hotel. Champion, a drum major in the Marching 100, had just performed with the band earlier that day. Witnesses said he began vomiting and complaining he couldn't breathe shortly before he collapsed.
Hazing is suspected in his death.
More than a week later, Governor Rick Scott called on all Florida schools to examine their anti-hazing policies.
"We don't want to lose another life, and I think it's very important we do a thorough investigation," he told reporters Friday. "When something like this happens, what we ought to be doing is making sure something like this doesn't happen again."
The school's student government association will also hold a mandatory anti-hazing forum Monday, according to a release from FAMU. Each club and organization will be required to have a representative at the forum or face sanctions from the student activities office.
All students will be asked to sign an anti-hazing agreement.
Meanwhile, a university task force appointed to investigate hazing at FAMU will not meet on Monday, as scheduled.
University president James H. Ammons said Friday that they will wait until other agenices can investigate Champion's death.
"Based upon input from the Governor's Office and in light of the recently announced November 29 investigation by the Board of Governors, I believe it will be prudent to postpone the work of the task force to allow this and other investigations to be pursued with our full cooperation and attention," Ammons said in a statement. "We will give the Board of Governors' Office of Inspector General our full support."
The Orange County Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement are conducting their own investigations into Champion's death.