TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants university presidents to closely re-examine their current hazing policies in the wake of the death of a Florida A&M University drum major.
Gov. Scott told State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan in a letter Thursday that he “encourages” him to “request all university presidents to reevaluate their current hazing and harassment policies and procedures.” Regardless of the results of the state university system’s investigation, Scott said, hazing should be “strictly condemned.”
He asked to be apprised of how the Board of Governors for the State University System will carry out his request. Scott previously asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct its own investigation, in addition to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office ongoing investigation, into the death of FAMU student and band drum major Robert Champion, which was allegedly linked to hazing and has prompted scrutiny of FAMU and hazing.
State University System spokeswoman Kelly Layman said Thursday that there is currently a university system-wide policy that requires all universities have an anti-hazing regulation in place.
Robert Champion was found unresponsive on Nov. 19 on a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel after the school’s football team lost to a rival.
Law-enforcement authorities have already said hazing was involved in Champion’s death.
FAMU has expelled four students in connection to the incident, but didn’t specify what they did, and Brogan’s office has launched a probe into whether FAMU ignored past warnings about hazing.
FAMU’s band director, Julian White was also fired as part of the fallout over Champion’s death.
In the meantime, 911 calls from the day Champion died have been released.
In one call, an unidentified caller told the emergency dispatcher that Champion had vomit in his mouth in the moments before he died.
He said Champion had stopped breathing and was unresponsive, according to the audio obtained by The Associated Press. Champion had just thrown up, the first caller said before handing the phone to a second man.
“We need an ambulance ASAP,” the first caller said. “His eyes are open but he’s not responding.”
The dispatcher told the second man to place Champion on his back and clean any vomit from his nose and mouth. But the call was disconnected before the caller could say if he was successful. Before the call ended, the man told the dispatcher he was going to attempt to resuscitate Champion. He also is heard ordering another man to get a defibrillator from inside the hotel.
“He is cold,” the second caller said.
The owner of the company that transported Florida A&M University band members told the AP Thursday that the driver did not hear or see any commotion on the bus before Champion collapsed.
Ray Land, president of Fabulous Coach Lines, said his company has transported the “Marching 100″ to many games and never had any incidents of hazing or inappropriate conduct on the buses.
The driver was helping students unload their instruments outside the hotel when Champion collapsed, Land said.
He said the driver is shaken up over what occurred and that their experience with the band has always been positive.
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