The Board of Governors’ inspector general conducted more than 35 interviews and reviewed more than 7,000 pages of documents covering 2007 through 2011.
The final report found that hazing complaints were not routinely forwarded to the school’s judicial affairs office for review or disciplinary action, band member eligibility was seldom verified, there was no central database to track hazing complaints, and there was no communication between police and the school’s judicial affairs office. For example, nine hazing cases investigated by FAMU police were never referred back to the judicial affairs office to see whether student conduct rules were violated.
The report points out that rules adopted back in 1998 intended to prevent hazing in the band were ignored.
Investigators also tried to figure out what happened at a Nov. 16, 2011 meeting that was held just days before Champion’s death.
Top FAMU officials at the meeting discussed hazing in the band and the possibility of hazing at the upcoming Florida Classic game being held in Orlando. The meeting was being held shortly after band director Julian White suspended nearly 30 students for the game due to hazing allegations.
Some of those at the meeting - including former FAMU Police Chief Calvin Ross - told investigators they had recommended suspending the entire band and keeping them from performing. But then-FAMU Provost Cynthia Hughes-Harris disputed that account and said that option was not discussed.
Champion’s family has filed a lawsuit contending that the school failed to take action to stop hazing. That lawsuit cites the Nov. 2011 meeting as an example of inaction by top FAMU officials.
In September FAMU asked a judge to throw out the Champion family lawsuit, saying it should be dismissed on several grounds, including that Champion should have refused to participate in hazing events. The university then offered $300,000 to settle the lawsuit but the offer was rejected by the family.
Robinson said that he could not speculate on whether the new report would be used by the Champion family to press on with its lawsuit.
Associated Press Writer Brent Kallestad contributed to this report.