FAMU Wants To Settle Suit Over Band Hazing Death

Trustees voted Thursday to enter mediation session

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Florida A&M University marching band performs on the field prior to Super Bowl XLIV between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

    Florida A&M University wants to try to settle a family's lawsuit against the school over the hazing death of a band member.

    FAMU trustees on Thursday voted to instruct attorneys representing the university to enter a voluntary mediation session with attorneys for the parents of Robert Champion.

    13 Charged in FAMU Hazing Death

    [MI] 13 Charged in FAMU Hazing Death
    Thirteen people were charged Wednesday for their roles in the hazing death of a Florida A&M University drum major, Robert Champion. Chuck Hobbs, who represents suspended band director Dr. Julian White, said "now that you have individuals who are subject to arrest, I think that it's going to show that clearly that Dr. White has no personal culpability in the events that led to Robert Champion's death." (Published Wednesday, May 2, 2012)

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    Champion died last November after Marching 100 members allegedly beat him during a hazing ritual.

    Prosecutors File Hazing Charges in FAMU Band Member Death

    [MI] Prosecutors File Hazing Charges in FAMU Band Member Death
    There was no single blow, stomp or strike to Robert Champion's bruised and battered body that killed him as he was pummeled by fellow Florida A&M University marching band members during a hazing ritual aboard a charter bus last fall. Hear from the student's parents and law professor Tamara Lave. (Published Thursday, May 3, 2012)

    Eleven FAMU band members face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanor counts in the hazing of Champion. They have pleaded not guilty.

    The Champions, who live in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur, Ga., in their lawsuit claim university officials did not take action to stop hazing even though a school dean proposed suspending the band because of hazing three days before their son died.

    Parents of Band Member Suing FAMU Over Death

    School officials also allowed nonstudents to play in the band, fell short in enforcing anti-hazing policies and did not keep a close eye on band members to prevent hazing, the lawsuit said.

    Any settlement of the case would have to be approved by FAMU trustees.

    Florida law also requires any settlement in excess of $300,000 to be approved by the Florida Legislature.

    Trustees met in a closed session for nearly an hour with in-house attorneys and an attorney from the prominent law firm of GrayRobinson to discuss the pending lawsuit. They did not discuss the case publicly before voting to authorize the mediation session.

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    The move to try to settle the lawsuit comes shortly before FAMU was expected to file a motion asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit.