FAMU Hazing Victim Suing the School

FILE - In this file photo taken Nov. 19, 2011, the Florida A&M University Marching 100 perform during the halftime show of an NCAA college football game against Bethune-Cookman in Orlando, Fla. The suspension of the Marching 100 in the wake of the death of drum major Robert Champion, who was killed during a band trip to Orlando, has received new attention after three Florida A&M band members charged Monday, Dec. 12, 2011, in the beating of a woman during hazing rituals that resulted in a broken thigh and and blood clots. (AP Photo/Tampa Tribune, Joseph Brown III) SST. PETERSBURG OUT; LAKELAND OUT; BRADENTON OUT; MAGS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; WTSP CH 10 OUT; WFTS CH 28 OUT; WTVT CH 13 OUT; BAYNEWS 9 OUT

FAMU Hazing Victim Suing the School

Bria Shante Hunter, who filed charges against the three members who broke her thigh in an alleged hazing incident, has withdrawn from the university and is forfeiting her $82,000 scholarship. Separately, Florida has uncovered possible fraud and misconduct by university workers.

Published December 14, 2011

The Florida A & M University student and band member who came forward to reveal that she too was hazed just weeks prior to the death of drum major Robert Champion is now suing the school.


Bria Shante Hunter, who filed charges against the three members who broke her thigh in an alleged hazing incident, has been harassed since reporting the beating to band director Julian White, said her attorney B.J. Bernstein. As a result, the freshman is pulling out of the university and forfeiting her $82,000 scholarship.


"For any person who is subject to hazing, this is a big reason they do not come forward," said Bernstein.


On Tuesday, the three young men accused of beating Hunter so badly that she was admitted to the hospital for blood clots in her legs and a cracked femur, appeared in court. Sean Hobson, 23, and Aaron Golson, 19, who are charged with hazing and felony battery, received a bond set at $10,000. James Harris, 22, charged with hazing, received a set bond of $2,500. They have all posted bail and have been released from jail.


On Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, the three students allegedly struck Hunter’s legs as a part of initiating her into a band clique for students from Georgia known as the “Red Dawg Order.” She reported that she was beaten at least three times over the course of the semester.


Court documents state that Hobson sent a text message to Hunter and others saying, "I apologize for the hurt I put you through. I apologize for the mental and physical strain that you have endured …" He has since denied sending the message.


The beatings came only about three weeks before the death of 26-year-old Robert Champion, a drum major for the historically Black college’s famed marching band, the Marching 100, who died only hours after performing at the annual Florida Classic football game. Four students and the band director, who are all alleged to have direct or indirect involvement in Champion’s death, have not received disciplinary action at the request of the Florida Department of Law (FDLE), who asked that the investigation be finished first.


Separately, in letters Florida authorities sent to the head of the FAMU board and head of the state university system on Tuesday, the department of law enforcement revealed that they uncovered possible employee fraud and misconduct when looking into what is believed to be the hazing death of Champion.


An FDLE spokesman would not discuss the investigation, but confirmed that it would be handled separately from the Nov. 19 death of Champion. 


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(Photo: AP Photo/Tampa Tribune, Joseph Brown III)

Written by Danielle Wright


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