FAMU Hires PR Firm to Deal with Aftermath of Hazing Death

Members of FAMU's Board of Trustees say the hazing investigations have put the university in crisis mode.

They've opted to hire a public relations firm to help them deal with it; at a cost of $25,000 plus $5,000 for expenses.

Members of the FAMU Board of Trustees say when FAMU Marching 100 Drum major Robert Champion died on November 19th, they realized the university did not have a crisis management plan.

They had the university hire a public relations firm to help the communications department deal with the situation.

Students welcome the addition, saying hazing investigations after Champion's death have put the university in a bad light nationwide.

FAMU student Lorenzo Chandler says, "They don't know where to go. As of right now, we're already looked upon as bad from certain points of views, so knowing what to say, how to deal with the situation."

The PR firm that FAMU hired is Dan Klores Communications. The firm has a lengthy list of clients that include some pretty big names.

DKC is based in New York. Its website lists Delta Airlines, the TV show Glee, and Yahoo among their many clients.

FAMU student Ciera Butts says, "I think it is a good idea. But, it's kind of sad in a way that we couldn't stop it without getting a P.R. firm. But, I think it's a good idea to have more help. They can say the right things and good things as they come on and look on how we progress in the hazing situation. That'll give us positive feedback."

Trustees say it is not uncommon to hire outside help during these types of situations.

For instance, Penn State has hired a PR firm called Ketchum.

The following is a statement from FAMU's Chief Communication Director, Sharon P. Saunders:

“Today, the FAMU Board of Trustees and the University hired a highly competent firm with national expertise in handling crisis communication and crisis management. For this 30-day contract period, the Board of Trustees wanted a firm to assist while we seek long term help in ensuring that FAMU’s brand as a leader in higher education is maintained.”

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