TALLAHASSEE —Florida A&M University has drafted a series of proposals to crack down on hazing, including hiring two additional employees to deal directly with the issue. Separately, a national coalition has been formed to focus on hazing and its ill effects on campus life. And a Miami congresswoman is preparing legislation that will toughen actions against those responsible for hazing.
The FAMU plan was scheduled to be discussed by the university’s Board of Trustees at a June 6-7 retreat this week.
A FAMU statement Tuesday said President James H. Ammons will present for discussion “new measures the university was asked to develop as part of the BOT’s updated Anti-Hazing Plan.”
The proposals were developed at the direction of the board and in consultation with the administration’s internal crisis management committee and the trustees, the statement said.
The plan includes:
• Appointment of an anti-hazing special assistant to the president, with broad-ranging authority to address hazing issues throughout the university.
• Appointment of a compliance officer in the music department who will report directly to the special assistant for anti-hazing.
• Re-organization and expansion of staff in the Office of Judicial Affairs to facilitate the adjudication of hazing issues and other matters pertaining to the student code of conduct.
• Establishment of an anti-hazing website and Facebook page by the fall semester to enhance education efforts and reporting.
Ammons will discuss the structure and operation of the marching band and the Department of Music. Once the new structure is in place, the university will begin the search for a new band director.
Measures proposed for the band include a four-year limit on how long a student may be in the music department band and requiring that all band members be full-time students.
Also, band practice would be limited to 20 hours a week and must be supervised by music department staff.
The band has been suspended since November 2011, following the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion for which 11 band members have been charged with felony hazing and two with misdemeanors.
The FAMU announcement came days after the Associated Press reported that a coalition of black fraternities and sororities have joined National Action Network leader Al Sharpton and others in pledging to work harder to end hazing on college campuses.
“We no longer can treat it as a series of isolated and unrelated sets of unfortunate incidences,” said Jimmy Hammock, president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., which heads up the coalition.
“It's almost as if someone has tattooed in their brain this is the way to be accepted,” said Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla. She said her anti-hazing efforts earned her the nickname “`Haze Buster” when she served as a regional director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Wilson is drafting a bill under which students would permanently lose eligibility for financial aid if they are convicted of hazing under state law or are officially sanctioned by a college or university for hazing. The bill also would require states to enact felony criminal hazing statutes or lose transportation funding, AP reported.
Photo: James Ammons