Florida A&M University (FAMU) student Robert Champion died last year on November 19 after a hazing ritual. The Huffington Post reports, in an interview on HBO’s Real Sports, Champion’s roommate, Frank DeFord. The FAMU band student told Gumbel about the tradition of hazing at FAMU as well as Champion’s last words.
The roommate of Robert Champion, the Florida A&M University student who died during a hazing ritual for the school’s marching band, spoke to HBO’s “Real Sports” and discussed the band’s hazings and his roommate’s final words.
In an interview with Frank DeFord which aired Tuesday on HBO, Rikki Willis — himself a band member and one of the 11 former students charged in Champion’s death – said that band members had to go through a gauntlet of other team members on a school bus, notoriously known as “Bus C.” The beating would stop once the member being hazed reached the back of the bus.
“The percussion section in the band is the hardest section to control,” Willis said. “First you start out at the beginning of the bus and they’re doing what’s called ‘prepping,’ and they hit you with their bare hands.”
“Then you get sent on your way through the bus. You’re at the front of the bus and you have to try and make your way to the back of the bus and people are punching, hitting.”
Willis said that the hazed students were hit with hands, drumsticks and musical instruments, and that it personally took him about 15 minutes to make it through. But he said that he was treated with more respect following his hazing.
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