December 6th, 2011
02:04 PM ET

Florida A&M University holds forum to end hazing

Students and faculty at Florida A&M University have pledged to put an end to the dangerous tradition of hazing which is believed to have caused the death of one student and tarnished the reputation of a program that was once well-respected across the nation.

"We are going to have to unify around honoring the legacy of Robert Champion," said university president, James Ammons.

Hundreds of students gathered Monday night on the Tallahassee, Florida campus for an anti-hazing forum held more than two weeks after Champion's death. The 26-year-old was a drum major in FAMU's prestigious marching band, The Marching 100. Champion died November 19 after performing in a halftime performance at a football game in Orlando, Florida. No cause of death has been released, but police and university officials both suspect Champion's death was caused by hazing.

The practice is considered a rite of passage in sororities and fraternities on campuses across the country; it is also banned by most universities and is a crime in the state of Florida. Ammons told the crowd at FAMU, the university must eliminate this pattern of destructive behavior from the campus.

Everyone at the forum was asked to read and sign an anti-hazing agreement.

"We have to stop it," Ammons said. "We don't have a choice."

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Filed under: Florida
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Star gazzer

    There will still be hazing, the smokable kind

    December 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Never too late to stop the madness rite?

    I don't know why they are bothering. Hazing is just torture that someone has been coerced into. It should already be illegal. Illegal violence should always be banned from every place and subject to expulsion for a student or faculty that does it.
    Coercion is something I think these students need to be educated about when they are in kindergarten, not college.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Portland tony

    Bonding to a fraternal organization can be done in numerous non violent ways. Beating the crap out of a pledge or requiring them to imbibe in dubious mixtures of food or drink is not one of them. If self depreciation or degradation is necessary, let it be quick..then over. Remember you are recruiting the best of the best....unless they are a legacy!

    December 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Star gazzer

    Your right! Its ridiculous , especially when a lot of students are there on a free scholarship, shouldnt they act like adults? And if not they should be punished,or even expelled

    December 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      The other point I'd like to make is the University should bring in some roll models, motivational speakers: musicians, athletes, clergyman or professionals etc. People who can grab the imagination of these immature minds and change their mindset!

      December 6, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Typo: Role vs Roll.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sovereign Copyright

    I don't know of any college organization that doesn't engage in some type of hazing.
    That being said, when I was in college, paddles and forced drinking were not a part of it, though.
    It was all done in a good-spirited way, meant to be fun, not harmful.
    Another poster had pointed out that some of these pranks were meant to embarrass, such as singing the theme for Sesame Street at the student union at noon, (which happened to me), or dressing up like women.
    Why any organization would think that beating people senseless would inspire loyalty is beyond me.

    December 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT (pit bull trainer)

      NERD!!!

      December 6, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT (pit bull trainer)

      Where you president of the chess club?

      December 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tcr c2

    Great idea portland tony. That would be a great idea

    December 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Redundancy Police

      Hey. Watch it.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rooney

    It's good they're trying to do something about it. They need to do all they can to stop this ridiculous tradition. Hazing is WRONG!

    December 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    @Ruffie:
    Who are you talking to?

    December 6, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mmmmm

    I think a lawsuit with a huge settlement will be an excellent deterrent.

    December 7, 2011 at 4:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. griff griff

    Please... Had the student not died, there would still be hazing. When they ran the HBO report on the band members at Southern University who were hazed and beaten so badly that his kidneys failed to function, they should have put a stop to it then. But since it was not FAMU in that report, everyone turned a blind eye to it, knowing all the time it was happening right under their noses. I say, make examples of them all from the president on down. For those who participated, jail time should be passed out. When Robert died, it stopped being hazing and became murder. It is time for the Florida authorities to send a strong message and pass out time like it's free lunch. The perpetrators of this crime will really find out what hazing is when they get to prison. Secondly, it was said that this man was beaten because he DROPPED HIS BATON!!! That, in and of itself is stupid, plain and simple. So the man made a mistake! We all do. No one beats me when I do either. If they want to play the "code of silence" and not talk against their fellow bandmembers, I say lock all of them up until someone does. Silence means consent!!!

    December 7, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Stlchicago

    COWARDS!!!!!! Everyone from the top of the University to the students. The hazing was well known. The hazing was okay, but we've gotta change because somebody died. Damn shame! There's a sickness in the black community and black people refuse to see it. Doesn't matter if it's gang black-on-black violence, fraternities making new brothers through hazing, folks you have an internal problem with your own people.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
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    April 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. aneciglover

    every day i smoke ecigarette

    May 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |