7 FAMU Hazing Suspects Surrender

Despite more arrests in drum major's death, many want a harsher university response.

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Since the death of Champion, other incidents of hazing in the band have surfaced. Bria Hunter, a FAMU freshman, went to the hospital with injuries from hazing last fall, and arrests were made earlier this year in that case.

Chris Chestnut, an attorney representing the family of Champion, said FAMU officials haven't listened to the warnings and the pleas to stop hazing on the campus. "The university is supposed to protect and educate its students," Chestnut said. "They have failed."

He has filed a notice to sue the university on behalf of the parents. (In Florida a notice must be filed at least six months prior to the action against a public entity, he said.) In addition, Chestnut has filed a lawsuit against the company that provided the bus on which the hazing is said to have taken place.

Champion, who was poised to lead the band next year as head drum major, went through a ritual called "Crossing the C Bus," witnesses have told investigators. At least 30 people were on the bus that night; several were beaten and one died, Chestnut said.

Champion's parents are pleased that charges have finally come in the case, but they were hoping for more, according to Chestnut. "They wanted murder charges," he said. "In their minds, their son has been murdered."

Denise Stewart is a freelance writer in Alabama.

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