FAMU Student Robert Champion, 26, Dead Outside The Band’s Orlando Hotel, Hazing?


After sheriff cites hazing in FAMU death, parents say band was abusive. According to the Washington Post article Robert Champion, 26, was found unresponsive on a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel on Saturday night after the school’s football team lost to rival Bethune-Cookman. Investigators believe hazing occurred before 911 was called. Champion was vomiting and had complained he couldn’t breathe before he collapsed.

The 26-year-old was a first-year drum major poised to become the top student in the band next year.

On Tuesday, the parents of three members of the FAMU “Marching 100” band told the Sentinel that they have implored university officials for months to end the verbal and physical abuse that one parent characterized as “a well-kept secret.”

Felicia Fabre, whose son is a sophomore in the band, said she received a text message Saturday night saying a drum major had been killed after a hazing incident.

Her first thought was, “Oh, my God, I told them that this was going to happen,” Fabre said. She shared with the Sentinel a series of emails, beginning in August, that outlined some of the abusive behavior her son had witnessed and been subjected to by “section leaders” in the band. (As quoted in the Palm Beach Post and Orlando Sentinel)

“These practice[s] MUST STOP and they will not until someone stands up and some changes are made,” Fabre wrote in an email to band director Julian White and Ralph Turner, listed on the website as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I feel because of love, calling and duty I must not only speak up for my son, but also for the students who are being belittled and mistreated and feel they do not have a voice.”

The exact cause and manner of Champion’s death are pending the autopsy results, said Sheri Blanton, a forensic coordinator for the medical examiner. There is no timetable for getting the results back, but most cases take 10 to 12 weeks, she said. FAMU officials acknowledged that 30 students have been kicked off the band this semester due to hazing incidents. There are currently three investigations. On Tuesday, officials at the Tallahassee school suspended the famed Marching 100 band and any other ensemble that performs under the supervision of the FAMU music department. The move affects more than 400 students.

The Marching 100 — whose rich history includes performing at several Super Bowls and representing the U.S. in Paris at the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution — was scheduled to perform at the fall commencement on Dec. 16.


  1. THis is absurd that black people do stupid ass stuff like this you all supose to be college students going to school to learn not to whoop up on each other this is foolish… Someone need to charged for murder that will decrease these negro from hazing to get into some little week band fraternity.

  2. This is so sad & something needs to be done to end Hazing at colleges.RIP To this young man and my deepest sympath yand prayers go out to his family.

  3. Unfortunately the Marching 100 has been “hazing” for years. I experienced these band member’s aggressive hazing nature; not to mention the death of a high school band camper from Dallas TX back in 1997. These students who tend to come from low-income areas out of Miami, NY, Detriot, Atlanta & other areas feel as if the 100 is their only way out of proverity. Dr. Julian E. White & Dr. Shelby Chipman were prime hazers in their collegiate careers at FAMU! Many on top of Many have suffered mental & physical abuse from these students. If a student speaks out against the organization then they’re targeted. These band members use paddle boards with spikes. Men abuse & beat women, sexual orgies are forced to for initiation. There is a secret “band fraternity”, heralding each person to “pledge” their loyalty, allegiance & life long membership. Remember: this band is graduating & music department will be sending out students to work your children.

  4. Fucked up… When did being apart of the BAND you had to do stupid and dangerous shit to be on the TEAM. It isn’t a FRAT, and that’s one of the reasons why I never joined one from jump!!! RIP – They should be ashamed and this shit is going on in my STATE. Tsk Tsk Tsk

  5. MARIE…what are you talking about and where are you getting your info from. I am a proud member of the Marching 00 and I assure you no such things occur. Sexual orgies?????!?? Not by the slightest chance. No one has ever been beaten with wooden paddles with SPIKES. If you were to just say paddles I’d let it slide. HAZING is not manditory in our Institution it is a choice. No one is forced upon this act (not to bring it any Justice) but hazing is a choice. You dont have to partake in any activities and if you do and don’t want to anymore you can stop it. Don’t make it seem like this is the way that we The Marching 100 operate because you are wrong.

  6. Marie what are you talking about? If I were you I would research then apologize to all the readers for being a real IDIOT. ALL WRONG! Matter of fact you might be surprise at what EDUCATORS , MUSICIANS etc that this program has put out. That’s your thanksgiving homework assignment . RESEARCH ! I’m really sensitive to this situation and I’m feeling hurt as well but the most hight is at the wheel. I’ll be asking for your assignment on Monday, so far you have a high F. We need a high A to get to a low C. Class is dismissed.

  7. The hazing events he took part in had nothing to do with being IN the band, clearly he’s already a member AND a drum major. He did these things to be apart of a secret frat within the band. But all this sexual orgy stuff and being beaten with paddles with spikes… seriously? Now you’re just telling lies. And DON’T in no way shape or form EVER disrespect Dr. White and Dr. Chipman by trying to make it seem as though they’re “okay” with hazing. They’ve sat down with us (The Marching 100, yes I’m a member) several of times explaining that what they did 30 years ago is indeed wrong today. Hazing in their day was not what it is today. And also remember that this young man WILLINGLY participated in these acts. Not blaming him for his own death but it’s obvious that no matter how much you warn people, they are going to do what they want to do. Unfortunately, his wants cost him his life. It had nothing to do with him pledging his loyalty as you say. The BAND didn’t make ANYBODY do this. These people CHOSE to do this, so they did. The band as a whole is a life saving experience. Not only do you extend your family but you gain knowledge of things you could not have otherwise learned, making you a stronger person than you were ever before. The Marching 100 has saved more lives that destroyed. Marie you just sound like someone who didn’t make it past the two weeks of pre-drill, so you’re bitter and you THINK you know what’s going on. Ladies and gentlemen, people like THIS are the ones you NEVER listen to when it comes to the 100.


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