September 11th, 2012
11:46 AM ET

FAMU says it's not responsible for drum major's hazing death

Florida A&M University says it is not responsible for the death of a drum major last year, and that he broke the law and school policies when he willingly took part in the hazing that left him dead.

In court papers filed Monday night, the school asked a judge to drop a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of 26-year-old Robert Champion.

"Mr. Champion should have refused to participate in the planned hazing event and reported it to law enforcement or University administrators," the court documents say. "Under these circumstances, Florida's taxpayers should not be held financially liable to Mr. Champion's Estate for the ultimate result of his own imprudent, avoidable and tragic decision and death."

The student's family lambasted the school Tuesday for denying responsibility.

"The Champion family is shocked at the defense FAMU has chosen in the brutal hazing death of Robert Champion," family attorney Christopher Chestnut said. "We simply cannot ignore the audacity of an institution that blames students for their own deaths, yet for decades ignored the hazing epidemic occurring within its own walls."

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soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    So...why didn't FAMU enforce its own policies?
    Ah.
    The "notme" defense.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. fernace

    Exhibit A: Penn State, its current students, athletes & staff, have been retroactively punished for the actions of 1 individual & a few who kept it quiet! Exhibit B: FAMU claims no liability in hazing death of student & in fact blames death on the victim! Why must we humans be so damm complicated & insist on complicating things that are simple!? PSU- people who committed crimes have been/will be punished & there should be sanctions, but the overkill by NCAA punishes innocent students who were toddlers when Sandusky molested boys in his care! Verdict: the kids are still left holding the bag! FAMU- pay the family w/a large amount of groveling & contrition, for your lax monitoring of "hazing" rituals & your insulting & abominably insensitive statement! Then FAMU should do an extensive investigation of how pervasive hazing is among their student body, & educate, monitor & punish, to end activities that can lead to death! Verdict: still out, so they better step up & do the right thing!!

    September 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rascal Rabble

    agree...so halarious...lol...you need to fire that attorney who formulated that statement...

    ...and where were you when i needed you, lil mister???

    September 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    I can't decide if this is the nerviest or most cowardly bunch of administrators.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Cowardly.
      Most definitely cowardly...and extremely hypocritical...
      Blame the victim.
      Nice.

      September 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jay

    Reblogged this on Red Paint Blog and commented:
    Nothing to do with UI... just shocked at how cowardly FAMU comes across in this piece.

    September 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. raven

    I dunno. I still can't decide. It's pretty nervy to blame a guy for dying after a bunch of people beat him to death.

    September 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe"

    O.K. Now they are FAMoUs. 🙂

    September 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Efrain

    If FAMU's council would of paid more attention to the students hazing would have never caused a death.

    September 11, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Spot

    If he was white his family would have won millions

    September 12, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |