Florida A&M University reached a settlement today for $1.1 million with the family of Robert Champion, a drum major who died following a hazing incident by fellow band members.
Of the $1.1 million, the university will pay $300,000 through the Florida Department of Financial Services.
The $300,000 is the maximum amount allowed without needing a claims bill requiring the approval from the legislature.
The remaining $800,000 will be paid through the insurance company for the Rosen Plaza Hotel, the hotel where the hazing incident took place.
Rufus Montgomery, chairman of the board of trustees, issued a letter of apology to the Champion family on behalf of the Board of Trustees.
“On behalf of the FAMU Board of Trustees, please accept our sincere condolences and sympathies for the loss of your son, Robert Champion, Jr., and please know that we are deeply sorry for your family’s, and the world’s, loss of such a fine and outstanding son, brother, musician and individual,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery added in his statement that the university would name the Marching 100’s anti-hazing program the, “Robert Champion, Jr. Anti-Hazing Program.”
Both FAMU and the Champion family will work on a designing a memorial plaque honoring the life of Robert Champion.
According to the agreement between the university and family, the Champion family can choose the location for the plaque.
The family also issued a statement after the settlement was reached stating that it was bittersweet.
“Today’s settlement is bittersweet, but it will enable us to focus squarely on our mission of educating young people, schools, band directors and athletic teams about the dangers of hazing,” Pam and Robert Champion Sr. said. “We will always honor the memory of our son, Robert. We called Robert ‘the example,’ and the positive change that will come as a result of his death will ensure that he did not die in vain.”
The Champion’s added that since their son was killed in 2011 they’ve made it their life mission to travel the country and educate young people through the Robert D. Champion Drum Major for Change Foundation.
Champion’s parents also agreed to drop the negligence lawsuit against FAMU, the trial was scheduled for next month.