- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 20, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A settlement has been reached in a 2009 lawsuit that alleged hazing within the Southern University marching band, but no details have been released.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1Nlw2yy) the suit was set for trial Monday, but court records indicate the case was “compromised and settled” earlier this month. The trial date was canceled.

Southern University System officials said there is an agreement in principle, not a final agreement, so no settlement details are being released at this time.

Marcus Heath and Cameron Taylor sued the school and Jeremy Dixon, a former student band leader, after an off-campus hazing incident in 2008 that involved band members being struck by boards as part of an unsanctioned initiation into the band’s unofficial French horn fraternity called Mellow Phi Fellow.

Heath and Taylor both were injured.

Corey Hebert, an attorney for Heath and Taylor, said Monday he could not discuss the case.

Southern has acknowledged the incident took place but claimed the university is not liable for Dixon’s off-campus actions. Southern also argued Dixon was not a school employee.

Dixon, an ex-student section leader in the band, and six other former Southern marching band members pleaded no contest in 2009 to criminal conspiracy to commit second-degree battery and misdemeanor hazing.

They were put on probation and ordered to perform community service

Attorneys for Heath and Taylor were poised to argue at the trial that hazing in the band was rampant and that Southern knew about it but failed to adequately address the situation.

The university denies those allegations and says the school has an anti-hazing policy and that students are required to sign a no-hazing contract. Anti-hazing workshops also are held on campus.


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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