Yesterday, thirteen people were criminally charged in the homicide of former Florida A&M University (FAMU) drum major, Robert Champion.
In November 2011, the 26-year-old Champion died after enduring a severe beating during a hazing ritual while aboard a FAMU charter bus. Many believe that Champion was beaten so severely because he was anti-hazing and gay. Since it could not be determined which blow(s) killed Champion, prosecutors decided to charge thirteen people.
Eleven people face a felony hazing, a charge that can result in a up to six years in prison, while the two others facing less serious, misdemeanor charges could receive up to one year in prison.
Champion’s family was hoping for more serious charges.
“Champion’s mother said Wednesday she had been hoping more severe charges would be filed in her son’s death, which authorities said was the result of hazing.
Pam Champion told CNN that hazing, which prosecutors said is a term for bullying, doesn’t amply describe what happened to her 26-year-old son.
‘The term ‘hazing’ in itself is a very light term,’ she said. ‘I don’t look at it as being a form of bullying. Hazing is a very brutal assault … against another person.'”
Although FAMU’s famed Marching 100 has a well-known history of hazing violence, band director, Dr. Julian White–who was fired but later reinstated after the incident–claims to have had no prior knowledge of the Bus C ritual that killed Champion.
White even blamed the culture of fraternities and gangs for the regeneration of hazing violence.
Has hazing increased in severity despite public outcries and other organized efforts to quell it and other forms of bullying?
Does Dr. White have a point? Are the charges too lax? Severe?
Sound off below!