Florida A&M University student Bria Hunter is giving up a full scholarship and leaving the school after being beaten in what police describe as a brutal hazing ritual.
Hunter, a freshman who was beaten so severely that her femur cracked, is also preparing to sue the historically black college in Tallahassee, her attorney said Wednesday.
Hunter finished her last exam Tuesday and planned to return to her parents' home in Atlanta — giving up an $82,000, four-year scholarship because she does not want to stay at FAMU, said Atlanta attorney B.J. Bernstein.
Last month, fellow marching band member Robert Champion, also from the Atlanta area, died as a result of apparent hazing after the Florida Classic football game in Orlando.
"It's been very difficult for her on so many levels," Bernstein said, adding that the lawsuit may be filed in early 2012.
Champion's family recently announced a lawsuit against FAMU, where officials declined to comment.
A university spokeswoman, however, said it is unfortunate when FAMU loses a student under such circumstances.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to Ms. Hunter and her family," spokeswoman Sharon Saunders said. "We respect any decision that she feels is in her best interest."
In other developments related to the hazing investigation:
•The Florida Department of Law Enforcement notified FAMU and the State University System on Tuesday that it has uncovered possible issues with "fraud and/or misconduct by employees of and/or persons associated with Florida A&M University."
FDLE has opened a separate investigation to look into those matters.
•The DeKalb County school system in Georgia on Wednesday suspended its high school marching band activities, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The school system reportedly put band programs on hold while it investigates possible inappropriate activities among band members, directors and others.
Champion and Hunter both graduated from Southwest DeKalb High School, according to the Journal-Constitution. Two of the three FAMU band members who were charged with hazing Hunter also attended Southwest DeKalb.
Less than two weeks before Champion died Nov. 19, Hunter told Tallahassee Police she had been a victim of hazing at an off-campus apartment.
She had been recruited to become a member of a group within the band known as the Red Dawg Order, comprising students from Georgia.
At one of the group's meetings this past semester, she was lined up with about 11 other pledges and punched on her upper thighs more than 20 times by two male students, according to a court document provided by the Tallahassee police department.
At another meeting, she suffered blows to the thighs with a metal ruler.
On Nov. 7, because the pain was making it difficult for her to walk around campus, Hunter was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Doctors told police she had a cracked femur, deep bone bruising and blood clots in her legs.
Three FAMU students were arrested Monday on charges of hazing Hunter. Two of the three young men also were charged with felony battery. They all left the Leon County jail Tuesday after posting bond.
The band's longtime director has been placed on paid leave while authorities investigate Champion's death.
Last week, the university's board of trustees publicly reprimanded President James Ammons for his handling of the fallout from Champion's death.
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