Charges Filed in Champion Case

May 3, 2012

By Peter McKay | FAMU ’97 | Email

At long last, the state prosecutor is filing charges related to November’s death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion. Of course, it’s necessary that there be justice like this, but the news carries some bittersweeet notes as well, truth be told.

If it turns out that the young people charged are guilty, it will be sad to know they squandered such a big opportunity for themselves, effectively ruining their own college careers. And, of course, no legal action can bring back Robert now. We should all keep these things in mind as we continue what will certainly be a long anti-hazing battle to come at FAMU.

After today’s press conference announcing charges in the Champion case, The Palm Beach Post quoted prosecutor Lamar Lawson asking others who have facts about Champion’s homicide “to come forward and tell the truth.”

Amen to that. This would also be a good time to encourage anyone who’s been hazed at all, whether it’s in the band or another organization, whether it’s even at FAMU or some other school, to tell someone about it. Someone you trust, whoever that may be. A parent or a friend or an adviser or whoever. In general, silence is what allows this terrible problem to exist in the first place.

One of the most disturbing things we’ve noticed in our data-collection efforts on this site is how often hazing victims and witnesses tell us of incidents but then say they’ve previously never told anyone else. Out of more than 30 submissions we’ve gotten so far, almost half say this blog is the first entity they’ve ever told about the specific hazing incidents they’re describing.

The veil of silence has to break down even more if we’re truly going to prevent another tragedy like the loss of Robert Champion from ever happening again.

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One Response to “Charges Filed in Champion Case”

  1. sue Says:

    I feel very bad for Roberts parents but he was an adult and knew what was going to happen. He did not tell anybody at the school even though he knew it was wrong. I do not feel the parents should be able to sue the school on that basis. I also feel the students that did this are not solely responsible. He should not have allowed this to happen to himself.


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