Southern University reaches settlement in '08 band hazing incident
BATON ROUGE - Southern University has reached a settlement with two former band members who claim they were hazed during unsanctioned initiations into the French Horn Fraternity. Today, a trial was scheduled to begin, but that never happened.
At least one band member claims he suffered organ failure after getting beaten with 2x4s. Former band members Marcus Heath and Cameron Taylor sued after the hazing incident sent them to the hospital in 2008. The pair sued Southern University and former band leader Jeremy Dixon.
In an interview with HBO Sports in 2010, Lagarian Bridgewater said it was a tradition to haze new members. He was seen with a piece of wood in his hand slapping a chair cushion. That's just how hard the new members were smashed.
"It builds camaraderie a brotherhood, played some instrument ate together, and got hazed together," Bridgewater said.
Southern University would not disclose how much the settlement was and declined to do an on-camera interview because the settlement is tentative. However, we have learned that any amount over $50,000 will need approval from the Board of Supervisors.
Although no one's talking, Bridgewater said the tradition went on for years.
"It's a competition thing so the person before me hit them and next person is going to come hit them harder," Bridgewater said.
Initially, a Judge ruled in favor of Southern. An appeals court overturned that ruling. The trial was supposed to begin today, but the settlement stopped that.
The attorney representing the hazing victims declined to comment.