Former FMU Student Wins $1.6 million Hazing LawsuitBy Staff Reporter
Daniel McElveen, a former Francis Marion University student, won a $1.6 million lawsuit Friday in connection to an October 2011 hazing incident.
McElveen dropped out of the South Carolina College after being hospitalized for eight days following a "Hell Night" initiation process for Phi Beta Sigma's Francis Marion chapter, Oct. 23, 2011. The student was allegedly beaten with hazing paddles that caused acute renal failure and damages to his internal organs, according to his attorney.
"Even after blood soaked through Plaintiff's clothes as a result of the striking, brothers of Phi Beta Sigma continued to beat Plaintiff with a paddle and Plaintiff was warned not to let any blood get on the floor," the complaint read, NY Daily News reports.
The 2013 civil suit filed against Maurice Robinson, an active Phi Beta Sigma member, FMU alum and Florence high school teacher, sought $600,000 in actual damages and $1,000,000 in punitive damages.
The hazing took place Robinson's home. The alumnus and several others were arrested and charged with misdemeanor hazing by the Florence County Sheriff's Office. The university officials suspended three FMU students along with the chapter of Phi Beta Sigma, WMBF reports. The case has to yet be fully resolved, Tribtown reports.
The lawsuit claimed that "Hell Night" was the conclusion of a series of hazing incidents. McElveen was forced to consume random food and was urged to wear the same clothes every night. He was also blindfolded and driven off campus.
"Hazing is an injustice to all of us and I hope my case raises awareness about hazing and prevents others from being victimized," McElveen told The State.
The lawsuit also primarily included Francis Marion University and the fraternity. But both the defendants agreed to settle the lawsuits independently with McElveen.
The University paid $15,000 (equal to a year's tuition and room and board) through the S.C. Insurance Reserve Fund Dec. 19, 2013. Tucker Mitchell, the university's public affairs director, said that as part of the agreement McElveen has to return to campus by the end of this fall to finish "a year's worth of schooling."