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News Clips 02/11/2013
EDITORIAL: Hazing allegations put system to the test
Source: Tallahassee Democrat, 02/09/13
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A report this week that Florida A&M University has placed Delta Sigma Theta’s FAMU chapter on inactive status sends two messages about the university’s efforts to curb hazing.
First, it shows that some students affiliated with campus organizations are still not getting the message that any behavior even bordering on hazing is no longer being tolerated. Second, it shows that students have gotten the message that it’s OK to report such incidents and that the allegations will be addressed.
Either way, this week’s news remains troubling. FAMU is under a microscope because of its history with hazing on campus, a cloud that will never be cleared if students fail to take the university’s anti-hazing stand seriously. To its credit, the university is being more transparent in how it addresses hazing allegations, even if the report casts more doubt on whether those efforts are having an impact.
Coincidentally, the allegation comes at the same time the university announced that it has hired attorney Antoneia L. Roe as its new director of judicial affairs in the Student Affairs division.
One of her charges will be to enforce rules pertaining to student disciplinary actions and policy. Last month, the university hired Bryan Smith as a special assistant to the president. He will be responsible for tracking hazing reports and will be the president’s guardian of the university’s anti-hazing efforts.
While the release on the sorority’s suspension did not address the specific nature of the complaint, Mr. Smith said it was under investigation. “Once this investigation is completed, the inactive status maybe lifted or, if warranted, additional sanctions may incur,” he said.
The complaint came in through the university’s ant-hazing website.
In fact, since September, the university has fielded 21 allegations of hazing (15 from the website), but none of the previous reports led to disciplinary action, according to university records.
Reports show that, of the reports to the website, seven were unfounded, six were determined to be unrelated to hazing, one was suspended because of a lack of evidence, and one concerned Delta Sigma Theta.
In addition, of four complaints filed by e-mail, two investigations were suspended because of a lack of information and two were unfounded, as were two others filed independently.
It’s important to understand that reports to the website are just that, and that judgment about the accused organization must be tempered until the facts become more clear.