Colleges and universities around the country are tightening up when it comes to hazing; unfortunately, this change is coming too late for some. Over the past year, Florida A&M University conducted an investigation involving the university’s inability to deter hazing.
This investigation was necessary as the result of the beating death of drum major Robert Champion in Orlando.
Because FAMU was deemed to lack any internal controls needed to locate and deter hazing, the schools accrediting agency placed the school on a one-year probation.
The Inspector General for the university system’s Board of Governors, Derry Harper, reviewed reports and records relating to hazing reports, as well as regulations, over the span of 10 years, before coming to his decision.
Harper found a lack of clear rules regarding handling any hazing complaints, in addition to poor communication between vital departments that handle hazing. For example, there were numerous occasions where campus police reviewed hazing allegations, but did not share them with the department that oversees student discipline.
In his report, Harper wrote, “FAMU failed to implement an anti-hazing program that complied with the Board of Governors regulations, University regulations or applicable state law due to a lack of effective institutional and internal controls designed to prevent, detect, deter, and discipline students involved in hazing.”
Interim President Larry Robinson says that the university intends to review the 34-page document, looking for errors. Although FAMU has taken numerous measures to decrease, and eventually eliminate, hazing, it is still prevalent.
Such changes include holding student forums, implementing an anti-hazing website, and restructuring the music department (in the past, band member eligibility was seldom, if ever, verified).
FAMU is also hiring a new band director, a compliance officer for the music department, as well as an assistant to the president whose main focus is anti-hazing efforts.
Robinson acknowledges that they are already aware of all the issues with their anti-hazing policies, and will review to see if they can take additional measures to improve the progress that has begun.
University System Chancellor Frank Brogan stated, “the problems were a direct result of action or inaction by FAMU personnel, who either had not developed adequate policies or simply did not enforce policies that were in place already.”
The death of Robert Champion a year ago, as the result of hazing, is just one sad instance where FAMU administrators could not maintain control of a decade-long hazing problem, despite numerous injuries, lawsuits, complaints, and even the university’s own warnings to band members that the hazing activities they were indulging in were illegal.
What do you think about the topic of hazing among college students? If you have a child who is in college, are you concerned that they may be hazed as part of a ritual?
For more information, contact a Gacvino Lake attorney at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).