Florida A&M University (FAMU) officials said they have dismissed four students involved in the hazing death of a marching band member last month, reports The AP.
The AP is also reporting that audio from an emergency call released Thursday reveals that the drum major had vomit in his mouth moments before he died.
University President James Ammons sent a memo to members of the FAMU Board of Trustees stating that the four students would be dismissed, but he did not specify what exactly they did. However, he did reference the act of hazing and the school's no-tolerance policy.
I want to report that four (4) students have been dismissed from the University in connection to the Robert Champion incident, wrote Ammons. The said four students were involved in the death of Robert Champion, a drum major from FAMU's Marching 100.
The 26-year-old Champion was found unresponsive on Nov. 19 on a bus parked outside an Orlando, Fla., hotel. The band had been there for a football game, which the team lost to a rival. An anonymous caller reported the issue and said that Champion had stopped breathing and was unresponsive. The man also added that he had also thrown up.
We need an ambulance ASAP, the caller said. His eyes are open but he's not responding.
The first caller then handed the phone to a second individual, who was instructed by the emergency operator to put Champion on his back and to clean any vomit out of his mouth and nose.
Before hanging up, the second man told the operator he was going to try to resuscitate Champion and told the first caller to get the defibrillator from the bus. But, to no avail.
He is cold, the second caller said.
Supposedly the driver of the bus did not see or hear any commotion on the bus on the way to the football game before. As the driver was helping students unload their instruments, Champion collapsed. The driver is reportedly very shaken up about the incident.
FAMU's band director, Julian White, was fired. White claims that he has two letters that he sent to university officials over the years about hazing, but Ammons denies ever receiving such communication.
Ammons suspended the Marching 100. FAMU is supposed to conduct an independent review; but the group that oversees the public university system in Florida says it will also investigate the matter, reports The AP.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott asked Thursday that the state university system have all 11 universities review the anti-hazing rules put forth.
Preserving the image and the FAMU brand is of paramount importance to me, Ammons wrote in the letter. He is not talking too much about the tragedy due to the potential for lawsuits, but he is trying to downplay the bad publicity the university has received over Champion's death and the poor handling of its finances and academic reputation.