Amid ongoing investigations into the death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, the school’s board of trustees has come to an agreement on how the institution will move forward with its efforts to stem the culture of hazing that has become synonymous with band membership.
In a 9-1 vote Monday, the board approved a plan which includes the formation of an independent committee tasked with studying hazing, as well as the construction of a campus memorial in memory of Champion and the creation of a scholarship in Champion’s name.
The board specified that the independent committee would consist of five experts from the fields of law, academia, public policy, psychology and band organizations. The panel will examine hazing at other universities and how students resist hazing in an effort to determine how the university’s award-winning Marching 100 band should be managed.
Although the trustees came to the decision with just one dissenter, who called the measures “shortsighted,” Champion’s family seemed to agree with the lone, rogue trustee.
“Memorials, scholarships and committees will not bring Robert Champion back, nor will they prevent another student from dying as a result of the culture of hazing in the FAMU marching band,” the family’s attorney, Christopher Chestnut, said in an email, according to The Associated Press. “We hope that the FAMU administration focuses its time and resources on developing substantive strategies that protect its band members from hazing; that is the legacy Robert would have wanted.”
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