Honor Robert by Ending Hazing

In the whirlwind of events that have unfolded in the past week and a half, it’s almost easy to forget that a student died.

There have been protests, Facebook groups and countless other visible outbursts from students, alumni and other supporters to have the Marching “100” reinstated and former Director of Bands Julian White re-hired after the death of student and drum major Robert Champion. But where are the student-led anti-hazing protests and Facebook groups?

Where’s the outrage and frustration that a fellow Rattler has been killed and members of one of the university’s largest organizations are under investigation for causing it?

Yes, President Ammons has hired a task force to look into the “culture of hazing” within the band and has fired White, but, to quote Champion’s mother in Monday’s press conference, “It’s too little too late.”

The task force should have been formed years ago after the first major hazing scandal involving members of divine nine fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi. The organization has yet to return to campus, and convicted members were imprisoned in the prominent case.

It was this case that led to the state and FAMU implementing strict anti-hazing policies and laws.

But a life had to be lost and an extremely bright national spotlight placed on FAMU to finally make the issue be taken seriously. With all these various investigations being conducted, I have yet to see the students directly involved in Champion’s death, either as a witness or active participant, step forward.

Everyone seems to be playing a big game of finger pointing, placing blame elsewhere in a desperate attempt to save face. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard “This is a problem everywhere, not just at FAMU, so why is this getting so much attention?”

Any student who has ever attended an HBCU leaves understanding this basic life principle: because we are minorities, we have to work twice as hard and be twice as effective to get the same results as the majority. The same principle applies here – we need to take accountability for what we didn’t do instead of attempting to rationalize something that never should have happened in the first place.

We need to unite under what is right, which is truth and justice for those who caused Champion’s death. FAMU needs to wake up, stop playing games and make sure it ends with him.