University Being Sued for Role in Student’s Hazing Death

It is believed that a Florida A&M University (FAMU) student recently died after he was hazed by fellow students.

The 26-year-old student, a drum major in the FAMU marching band, was found on the band’s bus just outside a hotel in Orlando on November 19. Earlier that day, the school’s football team had lost their game. A 911 call came in to request an ambulance, and the caller told the dispatcher that the student had stopped breathing and was unresponsive. He had vomited moments before.

According to an attorney representing the deceased student’s family, “all the evidence points to the fact that hazing was a cause in the drum major’s death and it happened on FAMU’s watch.” As a result, the family is suing the university for their role in the drum major’s death.

The student’s mother said that the purpose of the lawsuit was to encourage hazing victims to come forward and require FAMU to take this matter seriously and prevent future hazing incidents. “We want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” she said.

Other parents of FAMU students have told the media that they previously warned the university of the dangers of hazing faced by the marching band members. Florida’s Board of Governors, which oversees all public universities in Florida, is investigating whether FAMU ignored past warnings of hazing. Florida Governor Rick Scott has also asked the state university system to have all of the public universities review their anti-hazing rules.

In response to the student’s death, FAMU has fired the marching band director and dismissed four students so far that are believed to be involved in the hazing death.

Source: Palm Beach Post, “FAMU dismisses 4 students connected to death,” 12/1/11.