University Reaches $1 Million Settlement in Hazing Death

Florida A&M University will dedicate a plaque to Robert Champion to be placed by his family somewhere on campus.

Florida A&M University agreed to pay $1.1 million to the family of a student who was killed in a hazing ritual in 2011.

The family of Robert Champion, who died after the university’s band hazed him on a bus following a competition in November of 2011, will receive money from the Florida Department of Financial Services and an insurance company for the Rosen Plaza hotel, where the team’s bus was parked during the hazing.

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The settlement ends years of court disputes that have further shed light on the extent of hazing and the dangers associated with it.

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Champion, 26, died after a band competition at Florida Classic weekend when he attempted to push past other band members and make it through the isle of the bus in a hazing ritual known as “Crossing Bus C.” While he attempted to force his way to the back of the bus other band members punched, kicked and clubbed him with drum mallets and an orange traffic cone, according to the Orlando Sentinel. It was later determined that Champion died from soft tissue bleeding.

Since Champion’s death his family has started the Robert D. Champion Drum Major for Change Foundation to end hazing in Greek life, athletics and bands. The incident led to the firing of the university’s president and marching band director and criminal charges for 15 members of the band.

The school issued an apology to the family and will honor Champion by dedicating a commemorative plaque in his memory to be placed somewhere on campus.

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