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FAMU Board Approves Plan In Response To Band Member's Death

TALLAHASSEE (CBS4)- The Florida A&M University board of trustees approved a plan on a 9-1 vote Monday to deal with the aftermath of the death of Robert Champion in a hazing incident.

The plan, by public relations firm DKC, would include creating a blue-ribbon panel to recommend ways to combat hazing and setting up a memorial and a scholarship in honor of Champion, a drum major with the school's famed "Marching 100" band, the News Service of Florida reported.

Champion died in a hazing incident in Orlando following the annual FAMU-Bethune Cookman football game on Nov. 19. The death, which medical examiners ruled a homicide, sparked a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation that has since expanded into the band's finances.

Trustee Belinda Reed Shannon, who worked closely with DKC to craft the plan, said the blue-ribbon committee would be independent of FAMU and "forward-looking," considering wider anti-hazing issues.

"It will not examine or investigate the circumstances of recent hazing incidents at FAMU," Shannon said.

A FAMU task force aimed at looking into how the band's social structure might have contributed to Champion's death was frozen at FDLE's request.

But board member Narayan Persaud, who voted against the plan, said he felt it was still too narrow.

"The plan is too simplistic and doesn't address the culture of hazing on the campus," Persaud said.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed material for this report)


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