FAMU blames victim for his death

As if victims needed another punch.

Orlando Sentinel, “FAMU faults Champion in his hazing death”, 11 Sept 2012:

Florida A&M University is not responsible for drum major Robert Champion‘s hazing death, according to a court document filed Monday night.

Champion himself is.

In a 23-page motion seeking dismissal of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Champion’s family in Orange County circuit court, FAMU’s attorneys laid out a blunt response:

“Respectfully, as a 26 year old adult and leader in FAMU’s band, Mr. Champion should have refused to participate in the planned hazing event and reported it to law enforcement or University administrators. Under these circumstances, Florida’s taxpayers should not be held financially liable to Mr Champion’s Estate for the ultimate result of his own imprudent, avoidable and tragic decision and death.”

Let’s think about this…sarcasm aside

  1. a 26 year old adult and leader… because everyone makes the right decision everytime the moment they turn 18. And leader, it’s election season, let’s not go into our perfect examples of leadership our youth is following.
  2. he should have refused to participate… or, he should faced social ostracization
  3. he should have reported it to law enforcement or University administrators… because authority figures always listen when fear of vilence is reported
  4. the ultimate result of his own imprudent, avoidable and tragic decision… his actions were not imprudent, just misguided – it wasn’t the consequence of getting punched in the face that drove the decision but the consequence of not being accepted into the group; why is it a tragic decision to want to be included in a group you have revered for years?

Oops, I forgot to leave the sarcasm aside…

There are many other strategies FAMU could have used to try to absolve themselves of the financial responsibilities brought on by a civil suit from Champion’s parents. FAMU could have said the event happened after the sanctioned activity concluded.

Or, like every other damn waiver we sign to participate in any activity that carries a potential for risk, FAMU could simply have stated that Champion agreed not to participate in hazing activities and by doing so voluntarily he violated the contract with the university. Because he did. He did violate the hazing contract.

He also witnessed the brutal hazing of other band members and still opted for the only option for group inclusion. Does any of this mean that he’s to blame for his own death? No, absolutely not; there are, after all, 13 people facing charges, including felony charges.

Related Articles:

The Hazers



  1. I hate lawyers.

    1. I’m not surprised the university doesn’t want to pay Champion’s family. Except this, this is different. FAMU blamed the victim. They didn’t just deny responsibility; something I’d expect (unfortunately).

  2. Just so you know I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog award. 🙂 http://iamafeminist.net/2012/09/11/one-lovely-blog-award/

    1. Thank you. This is the first time someone has done this for me. 🙂

speak loudly, donkeys are sleeping

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