The parents of Florida A&M student Robert Champion, Pamela and Robert Champion Sr., have created a Facebook page, “Drum Major for Change! Robert D. Champion.”
The page is focused on giving individuals an outlet to “share stories and leave comments” Champion’s mother explained in a Dec. 8 interview on Michel Martin’s NPR show “Tell Me More.”
The page has more than 400 “Likes” and photos of Champion throughout his life, many of him smiling in his Marching “100” uniform. The page also has memorial videos created by others and links to news stories about the events surrounding the Champions and FAMU since November.
Champion’s mother also said the family wants to set up an anonymous hotline for students who are victims of or are involved in hazing to call and receive help.
“Our goal is to rid the campus of hazing,” she said.
Champion’s parents claimed in the interview that the university turned a blind eye to hazing in the band prior to their son’s death and that Robert had never complained about hazing to them. Any details they have regarding whether hazing was involved in the death of their son, they have received from media outlets, although nothing official has been released at this time.
Champion’s father also said that a driving force behind creating a Facebook page where individuals could openly discuss hazing was the number of people who have come to him since his son’s death to speak about issues they are facing and asking if now was the time to try and put an end to hazing within school systems.
“This is a problem, not only at my son’s school, but these problems are all over the world,” said Champion Sr. “Now is the time where we need to speak and address the problem.
Spencer Perry, an 18-year-old business administration student said that he would not like to get caught up in the negativity that can come with the consistent comments and rumors that are found on social media sites and anonymity would persuade more people to speak up when they are a victim.
“Some people are afraid to go to people within the group,” said Perry, “maybe they’ll get hazed further; so I think something that is anonymously set up, students would want to go to it.”
Although he attended Dec. 5 anti-hazing assembly, he did not feel it was aimed directly at organizations, and was more of a PR event. “Nothing to me seemed uplifting at all.” He suggested that the university, in conjunction with campus organizations, could issue a questionnaire to get a baseline of where the students stand on the issue of hazing.
A National Hazing Hotline was created in 2007 by 21 fraternities and sororities, and is open for anyone to report incidents of hazing anonymously. Calls are received by Manley Burke Law Firm in Cincinnati, which prints a newsletter called Fraternal Law, which discusses legal issues at institutions of higher learning and notifies authorities of incidents.
The number is (888) NOT-HAZE, or (888) 668-4293.
Attempts to contact the Champion family’s attorney, Christopher Chestnut, and the family were unsuccessful.