Four students were dismissed from Florida A&M University for relation to the death of Robert Champion who was a victim of Hazing. Champion was found unresponsive on November 19, 2011 on a bus that was parked in an Orlando hotel parking lot after the school football game.
The dramatic 911 audio was released on Thursday, the same day that Governor Rick Scott told all state universities to start cracking down on hazing. He said to the universities, “Hazing should be strictly condemned on our college and university campuses and by any organization associated directly or indirectly with our institutions.”
The 911 audio tape was reported by CNN:
“One of our drum majors is on the bus and not breathing,” a male caller tells a female dispatcher for the Orange County Fire Rescue.
“Is he breathing or is he not breathing?” she asks.
“We don’t know if he’s breathing or not, but we need to get an ambulance ASAP.”
“I have help on the way already,” she says. She asks, “Is he awake?”
“He’s not even responding. He’s responding a little. He wasn’t responding. We thought he was breathing. He was making noises, but I don’t even know if he’s breathing now.”
“Is he awake?”
“His eyes are open; he’s not responding.”
“But is he breathing?”
“I have no idea. I cannot tell you. He just threw up.”
“He just threw up?”
The dispatcher then asks whether Champion was shaking prior to stopping breathing.
“No, he wasn’t. He wasn’t shaking. I don’t even know how he was. He was just sitting there. We were just talking and the next thing you know, he was shaking and not doing anything.”
Asked again whether Champion was shaking, the caller — who says he has left the bus in order to hear the dispatcher — tells her, “No, no, he wasn’t shaking. He wasn’t moving. I don’t know what’s going on.”
The dispatcher then calmly asks him to get back on the bus. “I want you to see if he’s breathing, because that’s very important,” she says.
After a silence, the voice of another man tells the dispatcher, “Ma’am, we have a band member right here,” he says. “He’s on the bus and he’s not breathing.”
He says, “I tried to give him CPR and he started to vomit.”
“OK, and you’re right by him now?” she asks.
“He’s in my hands, ma’am. He’s cold. He’s in my hands.”
Asked to lay Champion flat on his back on the floor of the bus, the man says, “OK, I’m going to try. He’s heavy.”
“I understand,” the dispatcher says. “Just try to do your best, OK?”
After more silence, the conversation resumes. “All right, cool. He’s flat. He’s flat on this back.”
“OK, then I want you to kneel next to him and I want you to look in his mouth for food or vomit.”
“Yes, there’s vomit.”
“There is vomit in his mouth?”
“OK, then I want you to turn his head to the side and I want you to clean out his mouth and his nose.”
At that, six minutes after the call started, the connection is lost. The dispatcher calls back and gets a recording: “Sorry, you’ve reached me at a time of inconvenience.”
Hazing is a ritual that involves harassment, abuse, or humiliation to initiate a person into a group, club, fraternity or organization. Hazing definition: To persecute or harass with meaningless, difficult, or humiliating tasks; to initiate, as into a college fraternity, by exacting humiliating performances from or playing rough practical jokes upon.
Since the death of Robert Champion, more hazing stories have been coming from victims. Alleged hazing victim emerged earlier this week, telling a Florida TV station that she was rushed to an emergency room after being hazed just days before Champion died.
FAMU trustee and alumnus Dr. Spurgeon McWilliams son had been hazed in 1989 as a trumpet player for the Marching 100. His son was hit on the head and taunted with songs, causing him to leave the school. Dr. McWilliams said in a report, “People are coming out of woodwork now saying they were hazed.”
Tranea Cannon, a trombonist, was severely beaten in 2007 during hazing. She was beaten and stomped so badly that she had boot marks on her face and urinated blood.
In 2002, hazing victim, Antonio Wilkerson was sexually assaulted with a Sharpie marker by seven football players from Methodist College in North Carolina. They striped Wilkerson of his underwear, wrote all over his bottom and smacked him numerous times.
Walter Dean Jennings III in 2003 was pledging Psi Epsilon Chi when he was forced to drink numerous pitchers of water to the point of vomit in a fraternity hazing. He drank so much water in such a little amount of time that his brain swelled up and he died from water intoxication.
Matthew Carrington and a friend were pledging the Chi Tau fraternity in 2005 when they were frat hazed by getting drenched in gallons of ice cold water and floor fans blowing cold air on them. On top of that, they were having to do aerobic exercises while standing on one foot and drink gallons of water. Carrington collapsed and brain swelling from water intoxication and hypothermia.
Hazing death is more common than what is being reported.
- FAMU Band Scandal: Robert Champion Had Vomit In His Mouth When He Died, According To Emergency Call (huffingtonpost.com)
- FAMU Dismisses 4 Connected to Death (abcnews.go.com)
- FAMU Dismisses 4 Students Connected to Death of Marching Band Member – Fox News (foxnews.com)
- Fla. A&M student had vomit in mouth when he died (cbsnews.com)