Friday, May 25, 2012

FAMU right to expel drum majors who said they helped Champion complete Bus C ritual

Back on Nov. 29, 2011, FAMU President James H. Ammons announced that the university had expelled four students “in connection to the Robert Champion incident.” Champion died on Nov. 19 after participating in a hazing ritual in Orlando.

On Dec. 5, The FAMUan newspaper later reported that it had received official university documents confirming the identities of three of the four students.

According to FAMUan staffers, the students were: “Head Drum Major Jonathan Boyce, a 24-year-old senior from Marietta, Ga., along with fellow drum majors Shawn Turner, 25 of Atlanta, and Rikki Wills, 23 of Miami.”

The Champion case file released by authorities this week shows exactly why the ex-students named by The FAMUan article all needed to be permanently barred from the university.

Wills, Turner, and Boyce admitted that they assisted Champion as he attempted to “Cross Bus C.” The hazing ritual required him to run through a gauntlet of blows aboard a parked bus and touch the back of the vehicle.

“I'm Robert's roommate so I decided I was going to help him get through. So I pushed him through,” Wills told investigators.
“I see him reaching (to touch the back of the bus), so I grab him to try to keep everybody off him,” Boyce said. “I am pulling him and I see people kicking him. I put my body around his body and I am pulling him. Me and Shawn.”

Turner described how he pulled Champion’s arm free from Caleb (C.J.) Jackson, one of the alleged attackers. “When I snagged him loose from C.J. he fell into the wall,” Turner said. “And then of course once he touched the wall that’s when he stopped.”

These three drum majors might think they acted bravely. But their actions ultimately added to the problem. Pulling and pushing Champion through a bus filled with people who were beating him was a lot like dragging an individual deeper into the flames of a burning building instead of carrying that person outside.

Champion’s drum major “brothers” helped facilitate the “Bus C” hazing process.

If those three men had seriously wanted to protect Champion, they would have called the police after learning that he was heading into an illegal activity. They would have also fought to break up the hazing process instead of cooperating to assist in its completion.

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