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New anti-hazing efforts revealed to FAMU student body

It’s a new beginning for many students and staff at Florida A&M University. Since former
president James Ammons announced his resignation July 11, 2012, FAMU’s Board of Trustees
has created opportunity for progressive change.

Interim President Larry Robinson was welcomed to the university at his convocation Friday,
Sept. 7. But the true purpose of the event was to introduce www.StopHazingAtFAMU.com, a
website whose name says it all.

In wake of the sudden death of the ‘Marching 100’ drum major Robert Champion last year
November, Robinson is continuing the work that Ammons has done to combat hazing among
the student body.

“Everyone on campus needs to be unified in the fight against hazing,” said FAMU Interim
President Larry Robinson. “We will continue to enact change, positively empower our
students and provide resources going forward to ensure that we provide a safer and healthier
environment for learning.”

Along with maintaining a safe, hazing-free environment, Robinson wants students to be able to
use the website as a liaison and put an end to hazing.

The revised anti-hazing policy on the website reminds students that hazing not only violates the
university’s regulations, but in the eyes of the state of Florida, hazing is punishable by criminal
prosecution.

In fact, students must now sign an anti-hazing pledge before registering for classes in the
Spring 2013 semester. All clubs/organizations and Greek letter organizations must attend
meetings and agree to sign the new anti-hazing policy as well.

Meanwhile at the convocation, many students left confused, including Ana Sims, a first year
business student. Ana said that due to the lack of communication among FAMU administration
and the student body, she does not feel FAMU is making an adequate approach with the
website.

“It’s another tool, but is it really going to stop the students from doing it?, says Sims,” and what
happens if we don’t sign the pledge before the Spring semester? Are they really going to deny
students to be able to register for classes?”

FAMU has approximately 1,000 less students compared to the 2011-2012 academic year,
according to Robinson. Biology student Shar Donalds believes the dwindled student body has
something to do with the anti-hazing efforts.

“I feel the website will be effective, but I also know almost every organization hazes,” says
Donalds, “They [administration] need to hold the clubs and the Greek letter organizations more
accountable with the anti-hazing policy so students will feel free to pursue whatever.”

The website has a section entitled, ‘my PLEDGE’ which requires all to students to sign before
Spring semester. Only a few students have pledged, but this may be due to the lack of
promotion of the website and lack of communication to the students.

The website features subsections which define hazing, how to stop hazing, and also how to
report it to the university—along with several other anti-hazing resources which link to third party
entities.

“We encourage our students, faculty and staff to bookmark the website, visit it frequently and
utilize it if they are aware of any incidents of hazing,” said Robinson. “We want to help educate
the campus about what constitutes hazing and the destructive force it can be.”

FAMU plans on hiring on designated individual to the ‘Stop Hazing At FAMU’ website who will
also run the social media accounts. 60 applications have been received so far.

By Gionni Crawford

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