Florida A&M University says it is not responsible for the hazing death of a drum major whose parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school.
Robert Champion, 26, collapsed after being beaten by fellow members of the marching band in a hazing ritual last November. The university's filing says that Champion was a "26-year-old grown adult" who chose to participate in the hazing and who signed a "Hazing and Harassment Agreement" acknowledging that he understood the risks involved in doing so.
The school's motion also mentions a sworn statement given by one of Champion's bandmates, Keon Hollis, who spoke with him before the alleged hazing event. Hollis submitted that he had asked Champion if he was going to go to the ritual. "I asked him if he were sure he wanted to do it and he stated, 'Yea, I just want to get it over with,'" Hollis's statement reads.
Champion's parents brought a lawsuit following his death in an effort to "expose this culture [of hazing] and eradicate it," their attorney, Chris Chestnut, told ABC News. Chestnut said the family aims to hold FAMU accountable for allowing hazing to go on.
A judge will determine whether the Champions' lawsuit against FAMU will go forward.
Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.