- Faith & Family
FAMU has been hard hit by the recent and unarguably tragic death of one of its drum majors, 26-year-old Robert Champion. The young man, from all accounts, had much to live for and loved the marching band that he led and the school that he attended. He was slated to lead the band next year as the top drum major. Perhaps that’s why he was willing to submit to the antics associated with hazing.
There are countless stories about fraternities, sororities and other college groups who, following a tradition that goes back for generations, have forced their members to undergo a serious of often painful and humiliating experiences, both mentally and physically, before becoming official members of the “team.” Many of us have experienced forms of hazing at a person level. Ironically, it is often those who were hazed to the greatest level that become the most vicious hazers of tomorrow.
Blacks are not the only ones who participate in hazing — it seems to be part of the college culture and crosses all races and ethnicities. But it is Blacks whose numerous accounts have recently ended in earth shattering tragedy. Perpetrators of hazing have been expelled in some cases and even imprisoned in others. Lives full of potential have been destroyed. Meanwhile, victims of the crimes have had to face long periods of recovery or resign themselves to life-long injuries. There is nothing glorious about continuing such legacies.
It may be difficult to end a tradition that has become so firmly entrenched in a school’s history but sometimes that is what must be done. We realize the great heritage of FAMU’s Marching 100 and do not wish to see that program ended because of a few folks’ unwillingness to let the past remain in the past. Students, faculty and alumni must all be on one accord in the swift and immediate end to any and all hazing activities. We cannot allow another young man or woman to needlessly lose their life.