Nightly News | December 03, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: There are multiple investigations under way in the state of Florida after the suspected hazing death of a drum major at a university long known for its famed marching band . Tonight, as his family grieves, questions remain about what happened to that student aboard a bus and if there was a pattern of behavior that went unchecked. NBC 's Thanh Truong has more.
THANH TRUONG reporting: With pageantry, precision and percussion, the Florida A&M marching band has played in front of presidents and sports fans alike. But the alleged hazing scandal that left 26-year-old drum major Robert Champion dead this week prompted Florida 's governor to have all state universities review their anti- hazing policies.
Governor RICK SCOTT (Republican, Florida): Our children go to our universities, and we expect them to come back home.
TRUONG: Champion was found unconscious, apparently beaten on the band's bus shortly after performing at a football game in Orlando two weeks ago. This week, 911 recordings from that night were released.
Unidentified Dispatcher: Is he breathing or is he not breathing?
Unidentified Caller: We don't know if he's breathing or not, but we need to get an ambulance ASAP .
TRUONG: The exact cause of Champion 's death is still unknown and details of the hazing are unclear, multiple investigations are under way. The university has expelled four students for their alleged roles, and now more accusations of abuse are emerging. Just days before Champion died, an 18-year-old female band member filed a police report saying she was beaten during a hazing . The university has not responded. And a former band member who sued and settled with the university describes how he was hit with a wooden paddle.
Mr. IVERY LUCKEY (Former FAMU Band Member): After the paddling stopped, it was actually physical blows, face slapping, eating strange things.
TRUONG: The university fired its long-time band director . Julian White acknowledges there was a pattern of hazing , but says he reported it to proper authorities.
Mr. JULIAN WHITE: In all cases where I suspect there's hazing involved, I take immediate action.
TRUONG: With their son laid to rest, Champion 's parents plan to sue the university .
Ms. PAM CHAMPION (Robert's Mother): No one wants to be standing in our shoes. No one wants to hear on a phone call that your son collapsed and died.
TRUONG: The school's president vows to eliminate hazing at the campus, a pledge that may have come too late for one student. Thanh Truong, NBC News, Atlanta.