Board Given Okay To Investigate Hazing Concerns At FAMU
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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – The on again, off again investigation by the Florida Board of Governors in how Florida A&M administrators handled concerns about hazing at the school is on again.
Last Friday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement asked the board to suspend their investigation into hazing while it and other law enforcement agencies investigated the death of Robert Champion, a drum major in the university’s Marching 100 band.
FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey and Chancellor Frank Brogan later discussed the investigation and Bailey agreed it could continue because it wasn’t examining Champion’s death or any hazing that contributed to it.
The board’s inspector general won’t contact any potential witnesses in the Champion case and will work with FDLE to make sure it doesn’t interfere with law enforcement.
FAMU has expelled four students in connection to the incident, but didn’t specify what they did. 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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