Hazing News

Day of Reckoning: Accused in Robert Champion Band hazing death at FAMU could get record sentencing in a hazing death

Jessie Baskin, 22, faces a judge’s sentencing today in the death of Robert Champion. Historically, judges have threatened long sentences during pre-sentencing meetings, but no sentence in a college hazing death has ever resulted in more than a two-year felony conviction. The judge in this case has said nine years is possible. My guess is that the actual sentence will be between a year and a day for manslaughter and three years. Five years would send a harsh message. With all the other defendants in the FAMU hazing death getting light punishments, I’m expecting more in the way of a lighter punishment for Baskin. –Hank Nuwer, Moderator.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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