Florida A&M University dismisses 4 students in connection to band member's death

Robert Champion

(CBS/AP) ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida A&M University says it's dismissing four students for their role in the death of marching band member Robert Champion.

Champion was found unresponsive on Nov. 19 on a bus parked outside an Orlando, Fla., hotel after the school's football team lost to a rival. A 911 caller said Champion had vomit in his mouth in the moments before he died, according to audio of the emergency call released Thursday.

The 26-year-old's death has sparked a criminal investigation as well as a probe into whether FAMU has ignored past warnings about hazing.

FAMU President James Ammons acknowledged the dismissal of the students in a memo he sent earlier this week to members of the FAMU Board of Trustees.

Ammons did not specify what the four students did but said that their dismissals were connected to Champion's death. He also told trustees that a group of students protested his decision to shut down the university's "Marching 100" band while the investigation continues.

FAMU's band director, Julian White was fired as part of the fallout over Champion's death. The school says it will conduct an independent review, and the group that oversees the public university system in Florida says it also will carry out an investigation.

The owner of the company that transported Florida A&M University band members told the Associated Press Thursday that the driver did not hear or see any commotion on the bus before Champion collapsed.

Ray Land, president of Fabulous Coach Lines, said his company has transported the band to many games and never had any incidents of hazing or inappropriate conduct on the buses.

The driver was helping students unload their instruments outside the hotel when Champion collapsed, Land said.

Complete coverage of the Florida A&M hazing case on Crimesider