lucius_gantt_1.jpgWhen I was in college, I was a founding member of the Zeta Theta chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. I love my line brothers to this very day and I’m eternally thankful for them.

I thanked them for stopping me from killing my “big brothers” from Morehouse College’s Psi chapter who hit and paddled me whenever they wanted to.

I also thank God that my children never joined a fraternity, sorority or marching band that would inflict bodily harm on fellow students and friends whom they pretended to like as brothers and sisters.

I can imagine how the parents of Robert Champion felt when they heard that the students who killed their son would only be charged with a hazing crime. I would be furious. I would want justice and I probably would seek to get justice for my child by any means necessary.

I don’t care what the law enforcers and state attorneys call it but “haze-icide” is still murder.

You can be hazed to death, shot, stabbed, hanged, electrocuted, impaled, poisoned, decapitated, water boarded, drowned or stressed to death. Whichever way, you are still dead and the people who caused your death are murderers.

Some of my friends and neighbors in Tallahassee try to rationalize and say Robert Champion volunteered to be hazed by “crossing bus C.” I don’t think that anyone seeking to join a student group volunteers to give up his or her life. It’s not too far a stretch to suggest that the people who beat Robert Champion to death volunteered to murder the young man if you think the volunteer argument is logical.

No disrespect to the residents of the Sunshine State but when I decided to work here and to attend graduate school here, the first thing my mother told me was to “stay out of jail” because the Florida judicial system was internationally known as being unfair and somewhat backwards.

You can tell something was wrong with the charges being brought against the people who killed Mr. Champion because Florida state attorneys always over-charge black defendants in criminal cases. Afterwards, baby mamas beg prosecutors to release their children on probation and, subsequently, probation is violated and the young people spend more time on paper or in jail than they ever would have.

When law enforcers take five months to figure out how to under-charge black defendants in any case, just like in the O.J. Simpson case, something “is wong (sic).”

One thing “wong” or wrong, it seems, with this case is that charges are being considered in a political sense. If you throw the book at Florida A&M University and FAMU students, it would be wrong to some people. And if you let them get away with murder, you’ll anger other people.

Could it be politically expedient for law enforcers who made the decision to charge participants in the Champion murder with felony hazing merely because they didn’t want to upset black voters? I hope not.   

I hope the family of Robert Champion can get some peace one day because today is not that day.

Reports say the family thinks the Marching 100 should be disbanded until all forms of hazing is “discredited and abandoned” at Florida A&M University. I think the Rattler band should hit the field at halftime of the first FAMU football game. However, it should be the Baby Rattlers band from the FAMU Developmental Research School.

Lucius Gantt is a consultant based in Tallahassee and author of the book Beast Too: Dead Man Writing. He may be reached at, where you can also like The Gantt Report Facebook page.

Lucius Gantt