Five FAMU fraternity brothers accused of hazing say they have a legal right to finish their courses and graduate. Now a court hearing has been scheduled so a judge can decide.
Five Kappa Alpha Psi brothers accused of beating a pledge with canes have just received their official letters of dismissal from FAMU, but their lawyer contends the university had no right to ban them from class or from campus without a formal hearing first.
Brian Wolk, the fraternity brothers' attorney, says, "The basic issue is, do students have those basic due process rights or can a university summarily dismiss a student based on bare allegations?"
Wolk has filed a civil suit to try to get all five students back in class as soon as possible, but FAMU Police Chief Calvin Ross insists the university has followed all its rules and is ready to hold a hearing if and when the students request one.
Calvin Ross says, "They're entitled to a hearing and they would have to request that hearing. What happens subsequent to that hearing or during that hearing is yet to be seen."
Next week a judge will be asked to decide whether FAMU followed its own rules as outlined in the student code of conduct. What's at stake, at least for two of them, is a college diploma.
Kimberly Vance, a FAMU freshman, says, "I think they should be able to finish their classes. They should still be punished, but not, like, education wise."
Jessica Hamilton, a FAMU senior, adds, "I think they should be able to finish and get their degree so that they can able to move on from this."
A judge will hear both sides of the high stakes story next Monday, not whether five Kappas broke the law that night in February, but whether the university followed its own rules in kicking them out.
Time is of the essence in this case. Finals begin next week and graduation day is about 12 days away.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or firstname.lastname@example.org.