Florida A&M reinstates marching band after hazing death

In our previous post, we spoke about a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Bethune-Cookman University, located in Daytona Beach, involving the death of a fraternity student. Hazing, of course, is not an uncommon phenomenon, and Bethune-Cookman is not the only Florida university to have recently become involved in a lawsuit involving allegations of hazing. More than a year ago, Florida A&M University was sued by the parents of a member of the marching band who was killed during a hazing activity.

Our Florida readers may remember when the story first came out. According to authorities, the student died of shock caused by severe bleeding after 14 band members battered him during a ritual known as “Crossing Bus C.” Following that incident, the marching band was suspended indefinitely, and the student’s parents subsequently filed a wrongful death suit against the university.

Florida A&M reinstated the marching band last month, citing numerous steps the university has taken to crack down on hazing. After the student’s death, university officials reportedly strengthened the anti-hazing policy, hiring a compliance officer for the music department and a special assistant to the president for that purpose.

The decision prompted the criticism of Pamela Champion, the mother of the student who died in the marching band hazing, who said the decision was too lenient toward the marching band. Time will tell whether the university’s strengthened policy will be effective. Last fall, there were apparently 20 allegations of hazing in various campus clubs and two student organizations were suspended.

Source: Reuters, “Florida College reinstates marching band suspended after hazing death,” Bill Cotterell, June 27, 2013.