Florida A&M Blames Victim in Hazing Death

Florida A&M University said in a court document filed Monday night that it was not responsible for Robert Champion’s hazing death aboard a charter bus last fall, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Lawyers for the university argued that Mr. Champion, a 26-year-old drum major in the university’s band, knew the dangers of hazing and should have refused to participate in the event. They are asking a judge to dismiss the university as a defendant in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Mr. Champion’s family.

Christopher Chestnut, a lawyer for the family, said he was shocked at “the contents of their defense.” He added: “We cannot ignore the irony and audacity of an institution in blaming Robert for his death. Blaming students for hazing allows the culture of hazing to become deadly.”

The lawsuit was originally filed against the charter-bus company and the bus driver. Florida A&M was added as a defendant in July on the same day that the university’s president, James H. Ammons, submitted his resignation, effective this fall.

Return to Top