Al Sharpton is joining civil rights leaders, and members of black fraternities and sororities to launch an anti-hazing campaign. Fueled by the death of Florida A&M University band member Robert Champion's, members of the coalition announced Thursday that the severity of the student's story moved them to take action.
"We no longer can treat it as a series of isolated and unrelated sets of unfortunate incidences," said president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Jimmy Hammock.
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The group has pledged $25,000 to fund the campaign, which will spread the word through print advertising and radio ads on ESPN. In addition to spreading the word through media outlets, the coalition will hold a town hall meeting on Aug. 11 at the Marriott Executive Center in Charlotte, N.C., and has marked Sept. 6 National Anti-Hazing Day.
Following Champions death, FAMU's president announced that the school's Marching 100 band would be suspended until next year. 13 people implicated in the incident will also face felony and misdemeanor charges for the aspiring band leader's death.
Champion, 26, died in November after collapsing aboard a bus with other band members after a football game. An autopsy showed he died of internal injuries from a beating that authorities say was a result of hazing.
Eleven band members have been charged with felony hazing and two are charged with misdemeanors. Florida A&M's band has been suspended indefinitely, and Florida university system officials are still looking into whether school officials ignored past warnings about hazing