Drum Major’s Family to Sue Florida A&M


The family of a Florida A&M University drum major who died of suspected hazing will sue the school, his lawyer told WXIA-TV in Atlanta.

Robert Champion, a 26-year-old native of Decatur, Ga., died Nov. 19 following the Florida Classic football game in Orlando. Attorney Christopher Chestnut says Champion’s family wants to raise awareness of the issue of hazing in college bands. The school didn’t immediately comment on the attorney’s remarks.
Champion had been vomiting and complained he couldn’t breathe shortly before he collapsed. Friends called 911 and he was transported to Doctor Phillips Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The results of an autopsy performed Monday were inconclusive.
Last week, FAMU President James Ammons said the university would fire longtime band director Julian White. A letter sent to White from Ammons’ office cited “alleged misconduct and/or incompetence involving confirmed reports and allegations of hazing.”
“While Dr. White has had a distinguished career in music education and administration within the university as director of bands, I did not feel there was competence involving reporting allegations of hazing within the Department of Music and the Marching 100,” Ammons told the Tallahassee Democrat.
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John Bacon