After a sequence of alleged hazing incidents that have left one student dead, others injured and some expelled from school and arrested, Florida A&M University is doubling down on its efforts to protect students.
This week the institution submitted an anti-hazing plan and other documents to the Florida Board of Governors, BlackAmericaWeb reports. It has also launched a $50,000 research initiative designed to uncover the nature and extent of campus hazing. A seven-member independent committee will study the results and make recommendations.
Robert Champion Jr., one of six drum majors in the college's Marching 100 Band, died in November 2011 after an alleged hazing in the hours after the Florida Classic football game. His death has been ruled a homicide, but no charges have yet been filed.
At least two other hazing incidents were reported in 2010, with one even requiring hospitalization for student Bria Hunter, who was also a member of the band. FAMU public-safety officials have said that 22 hazing incidents have been reported over the past three years.
"Hazing is one issue that many colleges and universities face, yet it presents a serious challenge to uncover and address as a hidden culture, shrouded in secrecy," university President James Ammons said. He says the research initiative in response to these incidents will position FAMU to be part of the national discussion on hazing.
Hopefully other institutions will participate seriously in that discussion and take measure to prevent, rather than react to, the tragedies that can result from the violent tradition.
Read more at BlackAmericaWeb.