Lifestyle & Belief

FAMU hazing death: 4 students expelled


The Florida A&M University marching band performs at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., prior to Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, 2010.


Win McNamee

Florida A&M University has expelled four students it says are connected to the death of Robert Champion, a drum major in its marching band, The Associated Press reported.

Champion, 26, died on Nov. 19 after vomiting and complaining he couldn’t breathe following a football game, symptoms officials suspect were brought on by hazing.

The news was revealed in a memo FAMU President James Ammons sent to members of the FAMU Board of Trustees earlier this week, the AP reported. In the memo, Ammons did not specify how the four students were involved in Champion’s death.

Champion’s death has rocked the FAMU community and prompted several investigations into hazing at the school.

FAMU suspended the marching band, known as the Marching 100, and fired longtime band director Julian White, CNN reported.

More from GlobalPost: Florida A&M University band director fired following possible hazing death

University officials pledged to conduct an independent review of the incident, the AP reported. The group that oversees the Florida public university system in Florida has also said it will investigate hazing at FAMU.

Today, Florida Gov. Rick Scott Thursday called for the state's 11 university presidents to review the hazing and harassment policies at their institutions, CNN reported. In a letter to the chancellor of the state university system, Scott said, "Hazing should be strictly condemned on our college and university campuses and by any organization associated directly or indirectly with our institutions.”

Champion was buried yesterday at Washington Park Cemetery in Decatur, Ga., following a funeral at Beulah Missionary Baptist Church, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. Hundreds turned out for the service, included the FAMU President and former band director Julian White.

Ammons told mourners that the tragedy would turn FAMU into a center for a new type of "R&D" — respect and dignity – the Tallahassee Democrat reported. "I vow to you, Robert's death will not be in vain,” Ammons said.