Professor Gregory Parks tells USA Today he doesn’t think the Champion case will deter future hazing

In one of the largest hazing prosecutions ever, 13 people were charged Wednesday in the brutal hazing death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion.

State attorney Lawson Lamar said 11 people are accused of hazing resulting in death, a third-degree felony punishable by up to six years in prison for defendants who have no criminal records. Two defendants face misdemeanor charges in the November death.

The state also filed 20 counts of misdemeanor hazing against others in unrelated incidents.

It was not immediately clear whether those charged were all students or whether they included faculty members. By Wednesday afternoon, two were in custody at the Leon County jail in Tallahassee: Rikki Wills, 24, and Caleb Jackson, 23. Both are charged with felony hazing resulting in death. Wills, who was also a drum major, declined to comment when reached by phone. No working phone number was available for Jackson. The names of the other 11 have not been released.

The charges bring renewed scrutiny to hazing, the sometimes-violent endurance rituals that persist at some college fraternities and among band members at some historically black colleges and universities. FAMU’s Marching 100, which was suspended indefinitely after Champion’s death, has a history of hazing going back decades.

Gregory Parks, an assistant professor of law at Wake Forest University in North Carolina who has edited several books on Greek-letter organizations, also doesn’t expect the Champion case to deter would-be hazers. “This is a long, ingrained culture within these organizations, where violent hazing has taken place,” he said.

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