FAMU settles with parents of hazing victim for $1.1 million


  • Photo via Tampa Tribune

Almost four years after former Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University drum major Robert Champion was beaten to death by fellow band members on a parked bus, the university has settled a hazing lawsuit with his family for $1.1 million and an apology.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that FAMU will pay $300,000 to Champion’s estate, with an insurance company providing the remaining $800,000. The school will rename the marching band’s anti-hazing program in his honor and also install a commemorative plaque on campus.

The family’s attorneys, who argued that FAMU was responsible for allowing a culture of hazing, had originally offered to settle the lawsuit against the school for $8 million. The school held that it should not be financially liable for Champion’s death because the drum major voluntarily participated in the hazing. 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.