Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unpopular things that need to be said about the hazing incident at FAMU


First of all I have to say I am truly saddened by the loss the family of Robert Champion has endured. It is truly tragic when I young life is prematurely ended for any reason. I think many are finding solace in that it is shinning the light on a tradition that has being going on for years and definitely needs to be addressed.

That being said I think there are important parts of the discussion that are being left unsaid.

First off there is a difference between a victim and a participant. If a person is walking down the street and some nefarious character jumps out of the shadows and beats you, then you are a victim of assault. On the other hand if you sneak out in the black of the night to go to a secret meeting where you know you will be beat, and you submit yourself to dangerous activities then you are a participant in that activity. Both end in injury, but only one scenario has a victim.

Some have suggested that Mr. Champion and other participants in hazing rituals, though willing participants, aren't responsible for their actions because of the intense peer pressure they face trying to gain acceptance by those already in the organization. Some have even gone as far as to liken the drive to belong to these organizations to a woman who is an a abusive relationship. It has been said that a woman in an abusive relationship is so endeared to the abuser that she submits to and even defends her attacker. And so will people desperately trying to gain social acceptance to various organizations

However the analogy lacks validity for two reasons. One dating is not an illegal activity you don't enter into a relationship knowing that you are doing something you shouldn't be doing. However the same cannot be said about hazing. All participants, the hazer and hazed, know they are doing something illegal. In most cases they have signed documents acknowledging not only will they not participate in hazing, but also that they would report it if they encounter it. I don't think any rational woman would date a man if he handed her a paper saying "Warning I may beat you"

The second reason dovetails from the first. Since the activity is illegal how is peer pressure a justifiable excuse for breaking the law? What other crime can you commit and blame peer pressure: burglary, drug trafficking, prostitution? Could a person who is found with a stolen TV in his car stand in front of a jury and say he stole these things to fit in with his friends expect leniency for his crimes? That was rhetorical, ignorance of the law isn't even a justifiable defense in a court of law in America; so peer pressure definitely can't be.

Speaking of peer pressure, Mr. Champion was a 26 year old man, and a drummajor. That is important for two reasons. As a 26 year old he was not a child. The 19 year olds he allowed to haze him are children. He was an adult (at 26 I was in residency responsible for lives of my patients). As an adult he should have been setting the example for the youth other parents assumed a leader of the band would set. The responsibility goes even farther in that he was a drummajor, a designated leader of the band.

Another issue I would like to address is the school's culpability in this manner. Again it depends on the details of what happened, and I admit what I say here maybe later not the case. But if the case is that Mr. Champion allowed himself to be hazed is the school responsible?

I have heard the argument that the school knew about the culture of hazing on its campus therefore it was negligent in protecting the students from hazing. I agree that the school has a responsibility to protect its students, and I fully understand America's outrage at the perception that the school should have done more to ensure Mr. Champion's safety. And if it turns out the school was negligent in anyway to protect that safety they should be held accountable.

But what if the school provided anti-hazing workshops to educate the students on what hazing is and what to do if you encounter it, and all members of the band sign documents acknowledging they understand these rules; and what if the school appropriately disciplines all students found to be participating in any of these activities--if all this is true what else could have been done?

Would we be having this same conversation if Mr. Champion had overdosed on heroin, even if a fellow student had sold it to him? Of course we would still be saddened by the loss of life. And yes, we would still want justice brought to those who supplied the illegal drugs. But we would be openly acknowledging the bad decisions that also contributed to his untimely death and we would be only holding those directly involved in the transaction responsible.

Suing a school because you got hurt by the hazing you chose to participate in, is like suing your drug dealer because your crack made your teeth fall out. If you decide to smoke crack and you overdose you don't get to sue your drug dealer. So how come you can if you choose to submit yourself to hazing and you get hurt?

I am not trying to vilify Mr. Champion. His death is a tragedy that should not have occurred. Nor I am in anyway trying to justify the practices that ultimately led to his death. However, I do not believe we can begin to have an honest discussion about how to end hazing with out addressing all of the issues in the problem.

Educating the public against the dangers of breaking a law and punishing those who break it are about the only two things a society can do to protect its citizens. You can't punish with out educating, nor can just punish some involved and not others; and expect your solutions to work. And despite doing both of those well, there will be times a society still breaks those rules.

Just make sense to me

56 comments:

Social Elements said...

This post is insensitive to Mr. Champion and the other recent FAMU hazing victims families and when you dispute facts or even theories you have to present facts not opinions. The bottom line is agreeing to be beaten is not the same as agreeing to be killed. FAMU students can continue to be naive and idiotic, but there clearly is a culture and knowledge of hazing on the campus as well as other HBCU's that is not being addressed. FAMU definitely has not done enough to prevent these occurences and the school should be held accountable for any consequences they may face.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree

Anonymous said...

What about the students of FAMU? People are constantly judging for we ALL did not participate in. So if a student at FAMU robs a bank will we all go to jail? NO! I've been a student for 4 years and joined a few organizations, but I've never been hazed. I believe it all starts at home when people want the need to be accepted so badly. I couldn't imagine how his family may feel at this time, my heart really goes out to them. But I do not believe it is right to categorize each student that attends the university for actions not even 5% of the student body participated in. It's sad to walk down the street with FAMU nalia on and random people ask if you haze or have been hazed. HBCUs are not the only schools with problems, we just don't have enough people to help our institutions grow. People are quick to expand on the bad news instead of the good.

Anonymous said...

ppl do what they want to do reguardless of consequence.now it is ashame that mr.champion has passed, but he was a WILLING participant who accepted what could happen.it's funny that ppl claim that the hazing is an epidemic amongst HBCU's, but in all actuality other universities and institutions have been hazing for years and there have been a large number a deaths due to the effects of hazing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the writer of the blog. I attended FAMU less than 4 yrs ago and there is no such culture of hazing as ppl have insisted. This man made a decision, those directly involved should be punished but not the entire population. I was in over 4 organizations and held my ground on any stance I felt was not right as I attended from age 18-22.

Anonymous said...

Social Elements, I do not believe this is insensitive at all. As an alumna of FAMU, what you deem theories are in fact facts. I wholeheartedly agree with everything that was stated here. Actually according th both Florida A&M policy and the State of Florida law all PARTICIPANTS (both the hazer and the hazed) are guilty. I don't believe that once you leave home to attend college you can continue to blame your actions on peer pressure. You consciously decided to join organizations aware of the possibility that you will be hazed. Let's keep in mind that the policy you are mandated to sign to be a part of any group at FAMU describes hazing as both mental and physical. That being said many people are guilty of hazing. You know making the new guys at work do things that are clearly not in his job description. Guess what if you are in Florida you just committed a felony.

On another note. I know of no university that can be held responsible for actions that take place of campus. In the case of Mr. Champion, that was a school sponsored trip so ultimately that was like being on campus. But what about the others? Are band officials suppose to camp out in the homes of all 400+ members to ensure these grown adults do not do something idiotic? I think not. Also, if you willing show up and allow someone to place hands or other objects to your body you are just as ignorant and idiotic ad they are. I am not here to condemn those because had things been different I would have pledged a sorority and subjected myself to the same types of things to call some women sister. Stupid? Yes. But it is all a part of college life and culture every where not just at FAMU and not just at HBCUs

Anonymous said...

This article needs to be shared across the country. People are not seeing BOTH sides of hazing. It is not insensitive it's the truth. And the culture of hazing is NOT only at HBCU's but in ORGANIZATIONS ALL ACROSS THE WORLD, and it's not being addressed. FAMU students are not being naive and idiotic, YOU are. Clearly since Robert's death FAMU has made a valiant effort and even begun to spearhead a non-hazing movement. Yes, it got out of control, but it was bound to happen SOMEWHERE. What have YOU done to inform people about hazing or stop it (BEFORE Robert's death)? Or did it become a serious issue once someone at our university died? Open your eyes to the entire issue and stop trying to prosecute JUST FAMU because it's NOT JUST US. The only people that should honestly be held accountable are the people that put their hands on Robert and killed him. FAMU as a university is not responsible, the Florida A&M University Marching 100 is not solely responsible either. Get YOUR facts straight before YOU make comments and make YOURSELF look like an ass.

Milano Flascucci said...

I think this is a very well thought out response to the events that have unfolded with my dear DM brother Mr. Robert Champion. It's funny that I've not heard this defense presented by either side on conventional TV media?! I look forward to this unfolding and the truths being exposed!

Anonymous said...

Social Elements,

"FAMU definitely has not done enough to prevent these occurences." What more do you suggest a school do? They put policies in place and harsh consequences to combat hazing. The truth is, it isn't preventable. There will always be some knuckleheads at EVERY school that will secretively haze. Beyond each student wearing a tracking device, how could have the FAMU administration been able to prevent this?

Anonymous said...

I agree. Very well said. I too am saddened by Mr. Champion's passing but the points made are valid... In my opinion.

Jennifer said...

A-fucking-men. Don't get me wrong, this is certainly a tragedy. But what's more tragic is that a grown-ass man felt the need to take a beatdown for...for...well, I'm not really sure what for. I can't even say he was a victim of hazing. This guy just got his ass whipped.

However...anybody who says that there is no culture of hazing at FAMU is lying. There IS a culture of hazing. The difference is that FAMU students practically line up for the HONOR of being hazed. That's what's kind of weird about it. It's like...voluntary hazing. Nothing would've happened to Champion had he not decided to cross "Bus C", which is what makes this all so weird.

(God knows I'm getting a little sick of the "I believe in FAMU" movement, though. One can believe in FAMU and still demand accountability - something that way too many Rattlers can't seem to grasp.)

Jennifer said...

Oh, and the idea of suspending the entire band is not only unfair, but will do nothing but punish hundreds of innocent kids. Think about it: by suspending the band, the university can look "tough" while doing absolutely nothing else to get to the bottom of this whole hazing thing. It's a copout, and far too many people who had nothing to do with this will suffer.

Mrs Star Status said...

I agree with this post. Well written.

Anonymous said...

The state recognizes the fact that victims of hazing are typically willing participants of said criminal acts that's why the maximum sentence is relatively light (four years) when death occurs due to hazing. I personally wish the perpetrators of hazing would be charged with felony-murder or involuntary manslaughter (if someone dies) and the maximum sentence would be 25-Life.

Willingly participating should mitigate some of the responsibility in a civil suit, which should reduce some of the school's payout and who knows contributory negligence may come into play, based on the premise "but for Champion's willing involvement he may not have suffered this irreparable harm". We'll have to wait on the facts though. If I was arguing on his behalf, I would say that he balked (removing his consent to participate) at the increased intensity of the hazing, which had been relatively manageable in the past, so the accused were furious and beat him severely due to his refusing to no longer participate.

BTW, there have been drug dealers that have been found liable for the deaths of drug users, even though no one made the drug user use the drugs. Pimps have been held liable for the deaths of prostitutes who were willing to sell themselves, so there is much case law that will support a civil case in this death - However, I definitely see how the school and school officials can counter many of the allegations, just remember, in civil suit the burden is much less than that of a criminal case. It has to be frustrating, the school passes out hazing forms, gives seminars and has hotlines, are they expected to hold every student's hand after hours? On the other hand, the school let's individuals who have been convicted of hazing re-enroll and graduate, it watches organizations suspend hazers but the school permits them to stay enrolled - So it will come down to whether or not, in spite of the meager PR moves like hazing workshops, has the school done enough to rid its self of the culture of hazing that permeates FAMU's campus?

One final note, right before the football season, Miami had a HUGE controversy about a former donor who told about all the illegal payments & prostitutes brought to student athletes, did the Governor of Florida call for Scalia's ouster as President, since this was all on her watch?

Anonymous said...

"that this writer makes excuses for these murderers whilst blaming the victim shows his or her selective ignorance of the psychological paradigm of which the pledging/hazing process exists" -WD

Let's see what your position will be when it is your child is "laying in state" because of pledging/hazing. And before anyone attempts to correct me, pledging and hazing are synonymous and illegal amongst the D9 organizations.

Anonymous said...

All the writer is saying is that Mr. Champion had the right to say "NO" to whatever hazing he ultimately endured. That is all.

Anonymous said...

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH ARTICLE SOME PEOPLE MAY NOT ACCEPT IT BECAUSE OF TUNNEL VISION( LIFE WAS LOST) BUT IT DON'T CHANGE THE FACTS , NOT DOWN PLAYING CHAMPION DEATH BUT IN LIFE WE HAVE CHOICES IJS! I'M KINDA CURIOUS FOR THOSE WHO KEEP REPEATING THE SCHOOL SHOULD'VE DONE MORE, I ASK YOU WHAT MORE COULD'VE THEY DONE? LIKE REALLY LET'S SEE SHOULD THEY HAVE GOT OUT OF BED IN THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING TO DROP BY DIFFERENT PEOPLE HOUSES ETC SINCE IM SURE MOST HAZING IT'S NOT DURING SCHOOL HOURS NOR HAVING BEAT DOWN SESSIONS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SET ON FRIDAY'S IJS I JUST WANTED NO HOW YOU MONITOR GROWN MEN AND WOMEN AROUND THE CLOCK!

Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering, other than policies that prohibit hazing, forms that students must sign stating that they will not haze and the promise of being expelled (all of which FAMU has in place), what more does one expect any university or organization to put in place to prevent adults from behaving like murderers? Laws don't work or else the jails would be empty. What exactly should we expect?

Anonymous said...

I am also sadden by Mr Champion's passing and I agree with some points in this post. I feel as though many people aren't looking at this situation clearly. Mr Champion clearly is a victim in this case but knowing the culture of hazing I am sure he has done the same to other students. Its unfortunate but it is true.

Being a alumnus and corporate recrutier of the University, I am NOT againist the punishing of Dr White nor the band being suspended. Dr White, a leader in the band, could have done more. This incident didn't happen in a off campus apartment in Tallahassee, this happen on a bus in Orlando. In my eyes if you can't prevent this ritual from happening on the one weekend it happens every year, clearly isn't paying enough attention to it. For those of you who are adults and are part of organiztions/companies/clubs etc. You understand that even a few bad apples can ruin the bunch, maybe the band needs to be suspended to get the point across.

Lastly, I am not against any of the traditions that my university has but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Situations like this make our(FAMU) organizations look like gangs.

If we really believe in FAMU, we would join forces and actually help make thing better rather than speak on this topic from a far. I ask how many people are willing give back to the university we have taken so much from. This is bigger than a lot of us realize.

Coretta said...

This is rather well written but very baseless. The school should be held responsible because many incidents of hazing occur there. I attended. The school does not do enough to avoid these things from occurring. Additionally, reports are sent out to administration and it has been accepted as a part of the schools culture, so nothing is done. The legal action is not about Champion's family being awarded for activities he participated in but rather stopping it from happening in the future, where 19 year old "children" as you say, may be participants and get injured. Instead of vilifying Champion and supporting FAMU, the community should take responsibility and look for ways to change for the better!

EnlightenRattler said...

YOU ARE COMPLETELY RIGHT. COMPLETELY. PEOPLE ARE GROWN AND KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DO WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. I'M SOOOO TIRED OF PEOPLE SAYING HBCU'S ARE THE ONLY ONE AT FAULT....DO YOUR RESEARCH. ITS A NATIONAL THING AND BECAUSE WE ARE WHO WE ARE, THE FOCUS IS ON US. UNDERSTANDING SOMEONE HAS DIED BUT HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS GETTING HIMSELF INTO. PERIOD POINT BLANK.

FAMU DST said...

Well reasoned. Nicely argued. Agree. And it's nice to hear this side argued b/c no one speaks to this point.

Stop blaming me because you can said...

So let's continue to go up the chain and blame the person in charge of Florida universities, ultimately Rick Scott. If we keep blaming up the chain of command then we'll eventually get to President Obama. When my children go on field trips sponsored by their schools, I have to sign a permission slip stating that the school nor school board is not responsible for any injuries that may occur to my children, including death if I want my children to participate. If an elementary school is not responsible for any injuries that may occur to children as young as 5, the surely FAMU can not be held responsible for the actions of thousands of grown adults who pay their light bills, feed themselves and drive to school. It's time to hold ALL the people involved responsibility and stop playing whack a mole.

Mark said...

These comments are all fine and dandy...but just know...that Robert Champion is NOT alive. Go ahead and prosecute him and hold him accountable if he was ALIVE. He's dead, therefore those people WILL and DESERVE TO BE CHARGED WITH MANSLAUGHTER!! It's sad the university has to endure the possibility of a lawsuit and all this bad press. Just KNOW that if he wasnt KILLED...FAMU wouldnt have anything to be "upset" about. Actions have consequences, accept it.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how you make an arguement for choice when a human beings life was lost. Regardless if its peer pressure or not, NO ONE deserves to lose there life over this foolishness. And the one's who committed this act should be held fully responsible along with the band for letting this culture extend out as long as it has. I heard the director was already suspending and kicking members out the band who were still carrying on with hazing incidents and I applaud him for it, however when you have so many who are still in the band who believe in this mess right or wrong you aren't solving anything, your'e really making excuses for it. Having marched myself I know the type of mentality that carries with alot of these section cliques and groups and for them they uphold there traditions in a fierce way because to them (in a warped way of thinking) it is sacred. Its no different then brainwashing a slave...you have to tear down the human being before they submit to whatever it is you are trying to convey into there psyche and the same goes for hazing in any organization. They want you to believe along with the whole that if this person does not go through with this then they are worthless and not accepted.

Anonymous said...

Hazing is the culture of this world not just hbcus.. the people of hbcus come from a history of hazing since we want to b so technical. Hazing is what got this nation and every other nation on this sode of the wold its foot in the door. Hazing is also prevelant on pwi campuses as well as military and sports. Its by far just a "black" thing.

Cliff said...

Once again, those saying more should have been done, please provide examples of more. I'll wait...

Anonymous said...

HAZING...Oh hazing...hazing i cant say it enough...coming from a high school that has soror and frats i have to say that hazing was prevalent then. You knew before you even pledged that hazing was going to happen yet you still pledge, young and innocent in high school i started to pledge but my first night out at our "secret meeting" i could not believe my eyes. I dropped out and never looked back and when i got in college i opted out of my soror invite for those same reasons. FAMU is not the only school that has had someone die from hazing...that is why it is illegal now. I agree with this article and everything it has presented because i believe that you have a choice to be involved in illegal activity and if you choose wrongly then you suffer the consequences. My heart goes out to the family of Mr. Champion and i am sadden by such a tragic loss of life at such a premature age. I am 26 myself, i would hate for my mother to have to bury me. The school should not be sued for the vicious acts of hazing, yes hazing is big in schools but so is the knowlege that it is illegal...and like it has been stated you cannot join a club without signing a document that states no hazing...im sorry for the loss but responsibility need to be held by all parties

Anonymous said...

You are an ass and probably a hazer yourself. So if music is someone's life and they get a music scholarship to play among the best, they automatically become a willing participant in physical abuse? WHat the fuck? Do us all a favor...stop blogging. All victims of this bs have a right to their claim. I am sorry before I went fo FAMU I didnt know much about secret societies and hazing except for what the white boys did in movies. I am also positive that if I were a musician on a band scholarship I would not automatically assume I am gonna get my ass whooped just to climb the ranks. you are an insensitive moron for posting this bullshit especially when our University is under so much fire and turmoil. Its shit like this that ensures future incidents will ensue.Enough is enough. I suggest you take this shit down and take a good look in the mirror...and beat yourself for being such an insensitive and brainwashed ignoramous.

unKommon Sense said...

I appreciate the comments and hadnt really intended to reply to the threads. but to the poster who felt i am an insensitive ass and ignnorant let me say this

I may be an ass, you wouldnt be the first or last to point that out, but I am not ignorant, not on this matter but you are. Ignorance is the absence of knowledge where as stupidity is the refusal to accept that knowledge. So let me clarify somethings so you can choose which you prefer to be.

Mr. Champion did not get hazed simply because he was in the band. There are plenty of band members who do not "pledge" the band. They play there music and go on about there business. We are not talking about such students. We are talking about those who deliberately break the rules by agree to participate in activities they know to be illegal.

Now if it turns out Mr. Champion was minding his own business and some people decided to assault him against his wishes I will fully recant my statements, but knowing what I know about the band and hazing I dont think I will be making that post.

And to your point that my statements will in any way ensure hazing continues, I say this: Not acknowledging that all people involved in hazing are responsible and only going after part of the guilty party is one thing that surely keeps it going

Please dont assume I condone hazing in any way if you read and didnt skim the article I said so.

Well there is some info. Ignorance or stupidity...the choice is yours

Anonymous said...

Lets be real. Because this willing participant bullshit is for the birds. I am pretty sure that none of those members who "pledged" the band ever made it to be a drum major. I am gonna assume being the best at his craft and becoming a drum major was an intermediate dream for Mr. Champion. Let's not make it seem like hard work, and practice would have made Mr. Champion a Drum Major. Just like hard work, morale, a good GPA, and popularity will not make you a Delta, or Omega, etc. Let's not downplay whats going on at FAMU by calling people willing participants is bullshit that is practically going on in just about 80% or more of the orgs on campus. Hell even if you didnt want to be a willing participant you almost couldnt escape it. You want to join a modeling troupe, you are being hzed, you want to join a social frat or sorority, you are being hazed, you want to join a dance troupe you are being hazed. Of course there are different levels for each organization but bottom line, it almost felt like everyone and their friggin mother were getting off on humiliating, beating, or just bossing the shit out of other ppl just because they wanted to be apart of something. Thats what this is about. A guy who had a passion for music, who wanted to be apart of something great, and not just be apart of it, but fully engaged in all it had to offer. Getting beat so bad you use your life is NOT what the band had to offer. He may have willingly joined the band, he may have willingly "pledged" the band, but the bottom line is he did not willingly agree to give up his life for the band. This was heinous and brutal and we can sit here and ignore the fact that peer pressure and influence pretty much shape a human being, we can ignore the fact that the feeling of belongong to something great is an urge we ALL have, we can ignore the fact that if you want to be the best damn Drum Major at FAMU you will HAVE to get your ass beat, but we as FAMU students cannot ignore the fact that the culture of many of our organizations do not lend anyone who wants to be the best, the most popular, or just belong to believe they have a choice of being a willing participant. You either do it or you cant be a apart of it. The people on here agreeingwith this post are victims of hazing themselves unfortunately. But I am done making comments on this post. here is a title for your next post Unpopular things that need to be said about the organizations who promote a culure of hazing. And here is some advice for those of you do: Why dont you stand up to end hazing instead of justifying it by calling a dead man a willing particioant. Blog about that shit.

Anonymous said...

Lets be real. Because this willing participant bullshit is for the birds. I am pretty sure that none of those members who "pledged" the band ever made it to be a drum major. I am gonna assume being the best at his craft and becoming a drum major was an intermediate dream for Mr. Champion. Let's not make it seem like hard work, and practice would have made Mr. Champion a Drum Major. Just like hard work, morale, a good GPA, and popularity will not make you a Delta, or Omega, etc. Let's not downplay whats going on at FAMU by calling people willing participants is bullshit that is practically going on in just about 80% or more of the orgs on campus. Hell even if you didnt want to be a willing participant you almost couldnt escape it. You want to join a modeling troupe, you are being hzed, you want to join a social frat or sorority, you are being hazed, you want to join a dance troupe you are being hazed. Of course there are different levels for each organization but bottom line, it almost felt like everyone and their friggin mother were getting off on humiliating, beating, or just bossing the shit out of other ppl just because they wanted to be apart of something. Thats what this is about. A guy who had a passion for music, who wanted to be apart of something great, and not just be apart of it, but fully engaged in all it had to offer. Getting beat so bad you use your life is NOT what the band had to offer. He may have willingly joined the band, he may have willingly "pledged" the band, but the bottom line is he did not willingly agree to give up his life for the band. This was heinous and brutal and we can sit here and ignore the fact that peer pressure and influence pretty much shape a human being, we can ignore the fact that the feeling of belongong to something great is an urge we ALL have, we can ignore the fact that if you want to be the best damn Drum Major at FAMU you will HAVE to get your ass beat, but we as FAMU students cannot ignore the fact that the culture of many of our organizations do not lend anyone who wants to be the best, the most popular, or just belong to believe they have a choice of being a willing participant. You either do it or you cant be a apart of it. The people on here agreeingwith this post are victims of hazing themselves unfortunately. But I am done making comments on this post. here is a title for your next post Unpopular things that need to be said about the organizations who promote a culure of hazing. And here is some advice for those of you do: Why dont you stand up to end hazing instead of justifying it by calling a dead man a willing particioant. Blog about that shit.

Jen said...

I agree with the post above. I marched with the 100 and decided not to cross the clarinet section...they shun you, harass you to the point that you don't even want to be in the band anymore. NO ONE wants to feel that way so I left the band...you either get hazed or have a horrible time in the band. INSTEAD OF PRESSURING PEOPLE TO NOT BE "willing participants" HOW ABOUT WE URGE THESE PEOPLE TO JUST STOP HAZING!! Instead of urging someone to not let someone break your thigh in RDO HOW ABOUT WE URGE RDO TO NOT BREAK SOMEONE'S THIGH!!!!! STOP THE JUSTIFICATION!!!

Anonymous said...

As a former member of the 100 does anybody talk about the fact that their were more than just Robert who got hazed the sane way and Lived... Out of respect for Mr. Champion we don't want to go into airing out his own dirty laudry. But I agree, even though it was it unfortunate that he died. He used bad judgment in agreeing to be hazed he was too old and the leader of the band. U guys Can defend this all u want but do u think that these students tried to "kill" him intentionally? I don't think so. Understand there are 2 sides to each story and one cannot b done without the other.

Daniel said...

Who cares if it was INTENTIONAL or not...they killed him! Robert Champion chose to get on that bus and be hazed AND HE HAS REAPED THE CONSEQUENCE OF DEATH! NOW the ones that did it will reap their consequence of jail time...it's just that simple. Until FAMU and countless other institutions STOP ACCEPTING HAZING it will just happen again.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I am appalled at all of the foul language being displayed by ppl on here who so called have the best intentions of Rob and his family. This IS a public forum and you would think some of you so called self righteous black ppl would use better sense when expressing yourselves. But I digress.

I knew Rob well. That was my freshman brother. I marched four years with him and knew his family. Rob was like family to me and many others in the 100. He was an A class clarinet player, and hailed from one of the best high school bands in America.

We all miss Rob, and as a member and a former tuba player I can attest that there is not ONE single requirement that mandates anyone pledge the band. Id be a stone liar if I were to say that some questionable things have happened around the famu band. But, as the OP stated, hazing and to be hazed is a choice. Even though there exists shadow organizations around the band, the choice is yours if you want to join them, and honestly your membership in an illegal silly frat does not dictate your respect level one bit. If you ask me, some of the sorriest ppl in the band join these ghost band groups as a way to, in their mind, circumvent the Marching 100's strict music standards (which always ends in failure. Talent speaks volumes over your "affiliations"....always).

So yes, I'm sad and damn mad at this situation, and its aftermath.....as well as the fact I will not see my freshman brother leading the band in Atlanta or Orlando in 2012. But the fact is, buddy CHOSE to engage in his own death. Yes, chose. That is fact, and one as a 100 member I can verify for myself. Now, I wasn't there and don't speak much with my alumni. And I haven't returned to the hill since 2007 and don't know anyone marching now besides Robert. But, I know he had a choice, and that would have been a great chance to show what his parents taught him about life.

But he disregarded that wisdom and it cost him his life. Point blank. To blame an entire university, and its student body is ignorant, stupid, and very rash.

Instead, blame the living participants, the witnesses, and all who were involved. Serve the bastards life, that will definitely send a message which will help deter hazing in not only the 100, but all across America.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, in regard to this case, and the case of the young lady Bria, who nicely took the time to fabricate a story about her leg being broken, if ANY, and I mean ANY person, man or woman actually stands there and lets someone beat on them until they get hurt deserves to get beat.

You see, a big problem I see here in America is that these younger parents today that baby their childern too much and then send their "babies" out into the world too foolish and too ignorant about life to function properly.

A lot of you aren't in the band and do not understand the culture or personality of ppl in the band well enough to comment in an intellligent matter. You see, in both Robert and Bria's case, neither party was forced to engage in any activity like what has been ran all over the media.

Both not only were given a natural choice to say no and report the hazing, but both applied for the chance. That's how hazing works in general. It wouldn't be hazing otherwise....just simple battery and murder. Just like with a BGLO or frat/soror, the potential hazee or neophyte must activate and show interest in being initiated. That's how initiations into ALL secret societies works. You dig your grave and are well informed about what may occur beforehand.

If the hazee didn't actively engage his own process, the initiators wouldn't even waste time setting the up the whole event. Plus, having the initiate seek and chase his own ass whooping further cements the neccessary mental bond that will yield satisfactory results from the process.

So yes, its sad that this had to happen, but Rob and Bria could have prevented all of this, even if peer pressure was a factor. Now, the hazers def need to be reprimanded for their actions, and the law will do just that. That's why we have a legal system. It is a strong possibility that Rob and Bria consigned to their own injuries, and while America might not want to digest that, oh well. Truth hurts and heals equally. Americans also watch and read media on a sixth grade level, but I digress, again too.

Anonymous said...

Finally, once again, I want reiterate that hazing has never been the rule of law in the famu band, but only stupid cowards that let it happen and don't report it. I don't paricularly agree with Dr White on some of his methods of running the band, musically that is. But that is my opinion. Dr White has always kept an open door policy about hazing, and works tirelessly to help keep that cancer out of the band for good.

We, as humans, also have free will and choice. And with choice comes responsibility. You cannot consumate your own destiny, then divorce it because you can't deal with the consequences. I believe we call that being a negligent parent in America. Perhaps that's also why the level of parenting in America has hit an all time low. Parents are not teaching wisdom like the old generation of my grandparents used to.

Not all parents, for most do the very best they can. When your child hits 18, they are then consenting adults with all the legal power that implies......which then makes them by free will a party to their own demise if they choose that path. That sucks, but it should. That's a sad aspect of life.

Best thing to end hazing forever, parents, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stress the importance of being an individual and thinking for yourself. We all must answer on our own accord for our actions. If one lies down with their parnet and has unprotected sex, and the subsequently contracts HIV, unless they were raped, the newly infected has just as much party to the crime as the infector.

But, that's another issue in America and the developed world today, too many ppl (too many black folks esp) get down with the destructive herd mentality, and the youth see this and amplify it. Once again, teach your kids to think like wise aduls, display wisdom, and they will follow suit. My parents did, and I think I've turned one highly successful rattler in life. Teach your kids their individual value to the world and life. Encourage your kids to excel in their craft so that they won't feel the need to short change themselves for petty politics and brutal initiations like the one which killed Rob.

And most of all, teach your kids how to have a backbone and stand up for the right thing, even if they are the only one doing it. There are TOO many soft, weak young adults entering the workforce that are too sheltered, too spoiled and crack under pressure. But, then again, there are also a lot of spinless Americans running around the nation this day and age. Kids learn it from somewhere, and if not at home, then from their misguided peers. Or rap. Just go google Lil B and others of that ilk and you will see the madness these kids are gravitating to.

Take a stand at home. That where it starts.

I pray the best for Robs family, and I'm not in anyway placing the blame all on them. Ms Pam did her best. Rob had a choice. And that's life.

Let this be a chance for a new start for both my 100 family, my famu family, my nation, and my people. Good night.

Wallace said...

To those that think this blog is insensitive, I would like to think we are complex beings capable of having multiple feelings and thoughts. One can still have empathy for the Champion family while still having opinions. Excellent points by the last poster. However some will read it and still choose to ignore the points on free will. It is always easier to look elsewhere. No one is saying that the assailants should not be punished. But to make martyrs of individuals that chose to break the law without including calls for personal accountability is a disservice. I am a former M100. I was a beast on my horn and that's what got me respect. Robert Champion was too and did not need to get on that bus.

Jennifer said...

I think Jen has probably given the most insight I've read since this whole thing began. Really, I think the only people who can stop hazing in the band IS the band, because the band is the only one that knows its own inner workings. The rest of us are just speculating, really. I really hope more band members speak out.

Anonymous said...

Champion was hazed on a bus leased by the school during a school-sponsored event. The fact that occurred indicates a lack of proper oversight by FAMU. He also was hazed after 26 students were suspended from the band due to other hazing incidents including one that resulted in a student's thigh fracture. Despite that violent hazing, FAMU didn't suspend the band. FAMU's not suspending the band also enabled Champion to be killed by his peers during a school-sponsored trip. Certainly, if he voluntarily participated in the hazing, Champion bears some blame for his own death. But FAMU's laxness also allowed Champion to be beaten to death.

Anonymous said...

People say that suspending the band would be unfair because that would be punishing many for the wrong actions of a few. Yet, such suspensions happen all of the time, and are considered acceptable and effective ways of disciplining organizations. For instance, Ohio State has been banned from bowl games for a year because of its coach's actions and the actions of a few of its football team members. While it's unfortunate that some innocent players will not get to be in bowl games, the punishment probably will deter OSU players and coaches and other college football teams and coaches from committing similar infractions.

kirk said...

I think most M100 alumni and current members are expecting some sanctions on the band. But the point of this blog is not about thi. To say that the university enabled Robert to be killed because it did not suspend the band is truly absurd. Now if you had said legally culpable, you may have an argument. I guess it is hard for some to understand that there are folks willing to break the law to undergo a process or ritual.

Robert said...

I agree with Jen. I also refused to cross the Trombone section in 98...you might as well get out of the band if you don't. You will be publicly humiliated and ridiculed. These M100 members KNOW the truth and they know that EVERYONE is expected to cross these subgroups. Champion was a ROOKIE Drum Major if his set told him to get on that bus HE WAS GOING TO DO IT...we all know about crossing Bus C. Plenty of people have done it and probably never expected anyone to DIE from it but it happened and now we all want to act like it's not serious and that he couldve EASILY turned around and walked away AS A ROOKIE DRUM MAJOR! YOU ALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND KNOW THAT IT IS NOT THAT EASY IN FAMU'S BAND TO DO THAT! It saddens me that some of you just dont see the problem that something like "Crossing the bus" even exists...WHAT DOES THAT EVEN ADD TO THE MISSION OF THE BAND??? More M100 members need to speak up, the change starts with you all...SERIOUSLY. Until the BAND sees the problem, nothing will change

unKommon Sense said...

To Jen and Robert the point that neither of you chose to cross the band sections despite the ridicule is percisely the point I am making about hazing. If you truly want to end it we need more people like you guys sticking through the ridicule and just being in the band.

If everybody said no like you two did than the hazers would be in the minoritiy. You two made the tough hard decisioins that going against peer pressure means.

I agree the hazing needs to stop, but the point I am making, and the two of you have illustrated, is that people can stop it by refusing to participate despite peer pressure. You guys made the hard decision not to and so could he.

Also to the comments about the school's liability. I am not saying they shouldnt get sued. I think they have to prove they do a reasonable job at trying to maintain the safety of the school, but I think the point should be made that they do have policies in place that people choose to break. If that can be shown then I think culpability should be deminished. We all know that drugs are being sold in all major cities, but should we win law suits against the city everytime a person overdoeses on drugs?

Anonymous said...

@unKommon, I see the point your making but the thing your missing is what both Robert and Jen have stated.

"you might as well get out of the band if you don't. You will be publicly humiliated and ridiculed. These M100 members KNOW the truth and they know that EVERYONE is expected to cross these subgroups."

Now having marched myself I know what both are referring to. You literally might as well quit the band if you don't pledge your section because they will do everything outside of physically touching you to make you quit. Prime example: I marched in 99'for a band in the SWAC. I came in on the trumpet line with 12 crab bro's, outside of me and maybe one more the rest either quit or just decided to go through with the foolishness. Seriously, the culture during that season and after was BS. Even those you came in with will turn on you because that is the culture they breed. I see what your saying by if you stand up for yourself the culture will change but seriously, those that have marched know that It would take a major situation for it to change just like in the case of Mr. Champion. I still remember my crab year. We had so many parents calling up to the school (hell, even had one or two get put in the hospital), but do you think anything changed?! You still had the majority who went through with it believing that somehow they were good if they would just finish the process, which is pure BS. It will take the collective whole incoming freshmen class to stand against it, because if they don't please believe the upperclassmen and old heads will break them.

Anonymous said...

SMH at the FAMUans who seemingly worship the "school" and don't realize that when Robert Champion and other victim's families get paid as a result of their lawsuits against the university that the funds paid out will come directly out of FAMUs operational fund. That includes monies used for structural, institutional, etc. improvements, needs etc. ANYONE associated with an organization that hazes or whoops ass or physically puts paddles or hands on willing participants might want to cease doing so if they "love" FAMU, because if it continues, then FAM may one day just run out of the necessary monies it needs to effectively run the institution. So maybe the message needs to change to stop hazing period, meaning stop hazing and stop being hazed.

@FAMU2000 said...

I've had an opportunity to read a number of these responses to the writer. The writer makes some very valid points. I also know that there are a number of greek AND non-greek letter organizations that haze. At the end of the day, you must make a decision as to what you will allow yourself to be subjected to. He was not held at gunpoint and forced to do anything. He was 26 years young and had lived and made choices in life. He was a band member before becoming a drum major, so he knew the ropes...I am amazed that one might consider blaming the university, the president or the director of bands. Someone mentioned that it starts at home and I agree...

As an undergrad student and post graduation, I have counseled a number of people that considered pledging or joining organizations...My message was always the same, if a sense of belonging or a need to find yourself is the reason...then you are joining for the wrong reason. Know your limits and know when to say to say enough is enough. Understanding that you are willfully agreeing to all yourself to be subjected to the process.

The situation is tragic, yes...and the family and university will grieve for years to come...but pointing fingers...will not accomplish anything.

Mr. Champion's death was ruled a homicide, those involved will ultimately have to answer for their actions...and that is where the story should end.

Many have discussed various rituals that the band engages in...rituals are just that, but being a member of the only six letter greek organization, I'm not aware of any ritual that would result in death. There is obviously more to this than what is being released.

@UnKommon...I'm with you, chief...power comes in numbers and when WE as individuals band together and choose to invoke change...then and only then will change come.

As Robert's freshman brother stated, Robert and Bria chose to allow themselves to be hazed. As do many others. And anyone that knows the 100, knows the reputation. If you are so naive and don't know, shame on you.

By the way, I'm a proud FAMU graduate.

Anonymous said...

Tosha Said

I honestly cannot believe some of the latest comments. "We need to stop pointing fingers" "People need to band together and agree not to be hazed" Are you people serious. Hazing can stop when the hazers stop. No need for folks who just wanna play in the band, join a frat, etc to band together. If we want the problem to end. Then the hazers need to stop hazing!!!! Period!!!! Some of you sound absolutely absurd. How dare you come out your mouth to say no one put a gun to the mans head. The man is dead for crying out loud. You are so write common sense isnt common. So to the hazers on the blo including the writer because I am pretty damn sure he knows some are you ever gonna stop? Or do you all need to go to prision?

unKommon Sense said...

Tasha,

I am saying it takes BOTH the hazers and Hazees to stop to stop the problem.

And I am only saying that people have to take responsibility for the negative consquences of their own actions. Simple.

I have never suggested the people that killed him arent guilty nor that they shouldnt be punished. But had Robert Champion survived what should have been his consequence for breaking the law?

And as far as the university. I get that people say the university should have done more to prevent hazing. I am all for that but people havent offered up any solutions that arent already in place.

unKommon Sense said...

Also, I understand people "dont want to blame the victim" I think it is a noble sentiment, but why dont I hear the same sentiment expressed when other people break laws in the name of peer pressure?

Gang shootings are mostly motivated by peer pressure, I havent seen public out pouring for the youth who have died by the hands of the police who have taken the lives of children who are deemed criminals who have subcombed to the peer pressure of their environments

More than two past members of the band said on this thread that though it wasnt a popular desicion they didnt submit to hazing despite the pressure. They were leaders. And it is not besmirching the deseased to point out the FACT that he could have been one too

Anonymous said...

I feel you UnKommon...but you need to know which is EASIER. It's EASIER and more probable to stop the people from beating on someone than to get all of these people to refuse to be beat on. These people who decide not to cross are the minority (so few that we cant even make a percentage). It's more ethical and reasonable to stop hazing! Drug dealers and users are BOTH in the wrong...but the drug dealers are the MAIN source of the problem! I agree with both sides being the problem...but just know it would be easier and more probable to STOP the hazers...the people HAZING are usually always the ones in control. If THEY decide to STOP, the threat will be GONE. Will we be left with a bunch of people "desiring to be hazed"? No...they SURELY wont care nor will they ask for it

@FAMU2000 said...

@Tosha

I cannot speak to your age more what life experiences have brought your way, but I've been on both sides the hazed and have had the opportunity to haze. If peer pressue is still a factor then you have bigger problems on your hands. We all have a mind and we make decision... As adults, there is no justification for allowing others to make a decision for any of us. I go back to thr reason you chose to join the organization...as a user of drugs or as member of a gang or as a law abiding citizen, we are all accountable for the decisions we make. Ladies and gents that feel the need to pledge the band in order to be accepted have other issues...@Rob and Jen, you stated that you chose not to pledge your section and were ridiculed as a result. News Flash, that too was a form of hazing. You chose to get out the kitchen rather than to fight...I heard neither of you say you blew the whistle...instead you walked away with your head in hand...People if you're not part of the solution, you are feeding the problem.

Anonymous said...

So after reading all the comments, i would first like to say that if you are a FAMU student or alumni then you are very well aware that EVERY organization on campus participates in some form of hazing. Modeling troupes make you walk around in heels all day (any female knows what a task that is on the hill), dance troupe make you practice all hours of the night, sororities.... well they "suggest" you attend all their parties "assist" them with passing out fliers during let outs,"encourage" certian girls to run for different/specific SGA offices, "suggest" that intrested girls pick up and drop of members to various places throughout the day i mean the list goes on. So please lets call a spade a spade. Like some of the other commenters stated hazing is mental and physical. From someone telling you that your only allowed to wear black at specific events to telling guys they have to bring certian amounts of girls to parties hazing is hazing. On the note of Mr. Champion, its a double edged sword. No matter how old you are you still battling with the feeling of acceptance. Whether it is in class, with friends, at work or even at home, we all would like to feel accepted in some fashion. That being said, yes he was 26 years old and yes he was a leader of his organization but the probelm with the band as a whole is that there are too many groups within the group and because of this one is never really "apart of the group" until they are in the inner circle. This is nonsense! Just play your instrument and entertain your fans thats where it begins and thats where it should end. So what if we have the same area code or went to the same high school... bottom line is that the band memebers are there for one common cause and that is to play music! Mr. Champion im sure was very well aware of what it took to be apart of one of these "inner circles" within the band HOWEVER nobody (including Mr. Champion) knows the severity of ANYTHING prior to them being initiated. If you make it into a dance group you have no idea that in 3 months you would be practing until 2am with brusies on your knees and bleeding feet do you? Same goes for Mr Champion im sure he knew what group he wanted to be in however im sure he did not know that it would take his life trying to become a member. My question is, as a man at what point do you say to yourself OK I AM IN SERIOUS PAIN AND I CANNOT TAKE ANYMORE! MY BODY DOES NOT FEEL RIGHT AND I THINK YALL SHOULD STOP NOW! As a 26 year old myself there comes a point when i say "ok look yall kids had fun but its done!" I cannot begin to fathom the amount of peer pressue one may have that they ignore or want to justify someone inflicting such brutal pain. Mr. Champion is not at fault in any way for his untimely passing because how did he know that he would be beaten to such extremes? Mr. Champion, however, as the article stated was a "leader of the band", i myself was apart of many campus organizations and once i have on nalia i was no long an induvidual i was "person from that organization". No matter if you are off campus or on campus when you become a member of an organization especially the Marching 100 you take on the responsibilities of the organization as a whole! Mr. Champion im sure knew this however, i still wonder if that much peer pressure could overcome rational thought process. Whatever the case may be like i said before this whole situation is a double edged sword. Should FAMU as a whole be penalized... No, but should FAMU crack down on EVERY organization YES. from Gospel Choior to dance troupe to modeling troupe to greek life even/ especially to SGA, FAMU needs to crack down on everything because unfortuantly just like the Kappa incident in 2005 FAMU has given the State of Florida every avenue to make an example and mockery out of FAMU. This must end we cannot allow another freshamn class to walk on the hill knowing that at some point during their matriculation they may fall victim to hazing.

@iMF_ROCK said...

I didn't pass the bar...I never even attempted to take it...BUT fyi if individuals partake in illegal activities and someone dies because of it...all individuals are fully responsible and can be charged with murder...your whole argument is irrelevant because of that...and no one is wrong for charging FAMU with negligence...the whole point of a trial to research and determine whether or not FAMU personnel indeed did neglect the fact that students are being hazed. Just because the school offered anti-hazing courses does not mean school officials overlooked these illegal activities, so a THOROUGH investigation needs to be conducted. I guess people want to be upset because FAMU is receiving negative publicity...and that they're on CNN for this but not for positive things...but be real...how often do you see CNN reporting ANYTHING ABOUT ANY university unless it's something negative? Let’s not make this a racial thing and keep the most important facts a priority. a young man has died because he was hazed...an act that EVERYONE is aware is illegal (and if they didn’t know…ignorance is not an excuse...right? :-/)...if I give you a gun and tell you to shoot me...you think that will give you a pass?? YOU KNOW BETTER TOO (at least you should)...therefore you must be held accountable for YOUR actions.

unKommon Sense said...

MR_ROCK

2 things:

I agree that those guilty of contributing to Mr. Champions death should face the appropriate punishment which is involuntary man slaughter. I think the state trying to make it anything more than that would be harsh punishment. The Kappa's convicted under the hazing law in 2005 got more or the same time than the min for involuntary manslaughter and no one died. I know this case will get "an example" type sentence and I dont necessarily think that is fair, but that wasnt the point of the article

2) You and a couple of other people have used the example of "IF I give you a gun and you shoot me" as an anology for what happened in this case. I dont think that quite fits. I already said those directly involved in his death are guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but in your anology unless the gun was illegally procured there is nothing illegal about asking someone to shoot you. There is something illegal about asking someone to haze you. So had Mr. Champion not died, and it was the case he voluntarily submitted to hazing; then he would be guilty of committing a crime that lead to his death. In that case I have suggested the more apt analogy is overdosing on illegal drugs. Both parties in that exchange are equally responsible for the bad outcome.