TPD Asking for Community's Help In Dance Team Hazing Investigation

By: James Buechele,Mike Vasilinda,FAMU Release; Torque Dance Team Press Release Email
By: James Buechele,Mike Vasilinda,FAMU Release; Torque Dance Team Press Release Email

[UPDATE]

Tallahassee, FL - September 28, 2012

On Wednesday, September 5, 2012 the Tallahassee Police Department began to investigate a possible hazing case, which was referred by the Florida A&M (FAMU) Police Department. The initial findings showed an anonymous caller made contact with FAMU personnel on September 4th, 2012 to file a report which involved hazing. The anonymous complaint stated a hazing took place at a residence on or near Jakes Street and Patterson Street near FAMU campus and involved a FAMU dance group called “Torque”. The anonymous complainant did not identify either a suspect or a victim in the case but did state alcohol and “forced” activity were involved with the incident.

TPD investigators have followed all leads and interviewed all known parties connected with this event and are unable to identify any suspects or victims in this case. TPD is urging anyone with information about this incident or any other incident involving hazing to please contact the Tallahassee Police Department at (850) 891-4200.

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Tallahassee, FL - September 13, 2012

"The Lovely Ladies of Torque" stands behind Florida A&M University's
decision to suspend all of our activities pending an investigation of
reported hazing. We completely understand and find it behooving that
the university is taking immediate action to all reports of this
heinous act. We are offering 100% cooperation and is fully confident
that we will be exonerated of all accusations upon completion of this
tedious process. Simply put, "The Lovely Ladies of Torque" is a
non-hazing organization. Although we've developed a passion for the
art of dance through our beloved organization, we will never lose sight
of our main purpose, which is achieving academic excellence. We ask that all of our supporters (especially our fellow undergraduate
Rattlers) to understand that the administration is simply ensuring the
safety of its students. "The Lovely Ladies of Torque" encourages
everyone to support FAMU and most importantly take a firm stand against hazing. The moment we enrolled at Florida Agriculture & Mechanical University, we became a part of greatness and we strive to act as such.
#iSupportDHATT

With Love and Best Regards,

Genae Smith (President of "The Lovely Ladies of Torque")

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September 7, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As part of its broader ongoing efforts to eradicate hazing, Florida A&M University (FAMU) today officially launched its new anti-hazing website — StopHazingatFAMU.com —to further educate students, faculty, alumni and others about the dangers of hazing, foster an online community and encourage collaboration to help end hazing at the university.

“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.”

In addition, in spring 2013, students will be required to sign an anti-hazing pledge attesting they will not participate in any form of hazing. This will be a prerequisite for any student to register for classes.

“We are confident that the anti-hazing efforts at FAMU will be successful and will serve as a model for other colleges, universities, and other entities within our society plagued with this unfortunate issue,” said Chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees BOT Solomon L. Badger III. “The overwhelming support and commitment to the efforts by the entire FAMU family and community is a strong testament of belief that we can and will succeed in our efforts.”

FAMU students who log on to the website will also have an opportunity to sign a pledge confirming they are fully versed on campus policy and state laws related to hazing. The site will include messages from students, administrators, parents and others on the topic of hazing. It also includes a quiz to test one’s knowledge about hazing and a form to report hazing incidents that will be disseminated real-time to the FAMU Police Department. University officials believe the website is a great resource for those across the U.S. who want to have more information on the issue.

“This new site is an interactive and vibrant resource that can help educate and ultimately prevent incidents of hazing on FAMU’s campus,” said Belinda Shannon, member of the FAMU BOT and the BOT liaison to the university Crisis Management Team. “Hazing is a ritual that is practiced on campuses across the nation, but we want to make sure that we are doing what we can to stop this ritual at FAMU.”

The anti-hazing website is one component of the FAMU BOT updated Anti-Hazing Plan. The university plans to add designated Twitter and Facebook accounts to complement the website when the new special assistant to the president on hazing and the music compliance officer are hired. To date, FAMU has received about 60 applications for each position.

“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.”

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[UPDATE] Tallahassee, Florida- September 5, 2012

An all female dance troupe at Florida A&M University has been suspended pending an investigation into a weekend report of hazing. The report came from a parent who called the school on Tuesday afternoon. The group was suspended before the end of the day.

A promotional video from the FAMU Torque Dancers screams “Why Don’t You Love Me?

The all female dance group was suspended late Tuesday after a parent reported an alleged hazing over the Labor Day Weekend. Freshmen were reportedly forced to drink alcohol and run up a hill. FAMU police are investigating.

The anonymous police report says only that the incident happened on Jakes and Paterson Street.

The report came out on the same day FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson was beginning a series of anti hazing workshops. He told Boosters on Wednesday that the message must get out.

“The point that I want to make is that we will take swift and decisive action It is very disappointing, but at the same time there are a lot of students out there that have gotten the message” says Robinson.

There were mixed reactions on campus. Some students didn’t want to talk about it at all.

“I gotta. I gotta be somewhere really quickly” is what one camouflage clad student told us. Others, like Elizabeth Oyecora, called the alleged incident unforgivable. “They didn’t learn so they deserve what happened to them. So, I guess other organizations will learn from this” says the first year Pharmacy student.

FAMU’s reputation for hazing became national news with the death of drum major Robert Champion last November. Colin Johnson chose to enroll this fall anyway. “It’s like, sometimes certain individuals will make bad choices. But overall I still feel like FAMU is a good decent school to go to”, says Johnson.

The investigation may lead off campus and involve Tallahassee Police. Until resolved, the dance troupe will remain suspended.

An all female dance troupe at Florida A&M University has been suspended pending an investigation into a weekend report of hazing. The report came from a parent who called the school on Tuesday afternoon. The group was suspended before the end of the day.

This is a promotional video from the FAMU Torque Dancers.

NAT. “Why Don’t You Love Me?”

The all female dance group was suspended late Tuesday after a parent reported an alleged hazing over the Labor Day Weekend. Freshmen were reportedly forced to drink alcohol and run up a hill. FAMU police are investigating.

The anonymous police report says only that the incident happened on Jakes and Paterson Street.

The report came out on the same day FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson was beginning a series of anti hazing workshops. He told Boosters on Wednesday that the message must get out.

“The point that I want to make is that we will take swift and decisive action It is very disappointing, but at the same time there are a lot of students out there that have gotten the message” says Robinson.

There were mixed reactions on campus. Some students didn’t want to talk about it at all.

“I gotta. I gotta be somewhere really quickly” is what one camouflage clad student told us. Others, like Elizabeth Oyecora, called the alleged incident unforgivable. “They didn’t learn so they deserve what happened to them. So, I guess other organizations will learn from this” says the first year Pharmacy student.

FAMU’s reputation for hazing became national news with the death of drum major Robert Champion last November. Colin Johnson chose to enroll this fall anyway. “It’s like, sometimes certain individuals will make bad choices. But overall I still feel like FAMU is a good decent school to go to”, says Johnson.

The investigation may lead off campus and involve Tallahassee Police. Until resolved, the dance troupe will remain suspended.

_____________________________________________________

Tallahassee, Florida- September 4, 2012

Doctor Robinson suspended the torque dance team on the same night that students began mandatory orientation classes to prevent hazing among students. The meeting was made mandatory since the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

Says Dr. Robinson about the incident: "Allegedly involved alcohol consumption and some type of physical activity."

Robinson says that physical activity involved some type of running up and down hills somewhere off campus. The FAMU Police Department has launched an investigation into those claims.

"They may work with other local authorities in the investigation in particular in light of the fact that it occurred off campus."

The goal of the orientation classes that are scheduled to run through next week is to educate the student body.

Says Michael Jefferson, FAMU SGA Vice President: "We're making sure that everyone understands that these are laws, these are policies and that it was never tolerated."

Although no students have been suspended, Robinson says there's still many options left for the University.

Says Robinson: "And pending the outcome of the investigation there might be other actions we will take as well."

An anonymous phone call made by a parent this afternoon brought the incident to light. The Office of Student Activities says the Dance Team was inactive since December of 2011 due to the absence of an advisor.

___________________________________________________

Tallahassee, Florida- September 4, 2012

Florida A&M University (FAMU) Interim President Larry Robinson moved swiftly today ordering the immediate suspension of the Torque Dance Team following an alleged off-campus hazing incident. FAMU received an anonymous report today that the alleged incident occurred during the Labor Day weekend.

According to the Office of Student Activities, the organization was inactive since December 2011 due to the absence of an advisor.

The University has officially launched an investigation based on the anonymous report made by a parent to the university at 1:45 pm today. Robinson said the group is suspended until further notice, pending an investigation. Robinson said the campus police chief, dean of students and director of student activities have all been notified of the alleged incident.

“The University takes very seriously any allegation of hazing and has moved quickly to shut the organization down pending the outcome of an investigation,” said Robinson. “We have zero tolerance for hazing. It‘s deplorable and will not be tolerated. It is unconscionable that a student organization would participate in any hazing activity considering what has transpired in the past year.”

Earlier this year, FAMU suspended new membership intake for all clubs and organizations and implemented more strict procedures as a result of the death of Robert Champion.

Among the revised and new procedures to the intake process are a mandatory “Rattlers First” Membership Orientation, conflict resolution, new member rights and responsibilities, and student organization recertification provided by the Office of Student Activities for current and new members throughout the year. These workshops will address topics such as anti-hazing, community service, time management and professional development. Each potential member of the club or organization must attend these workshops to be considered for membership.

The first meeting to inform student clubs and organizations of the new intake procedures is scheduled to take place today at 6 p.m. These meetings were scheduled prior to the report of alleged hazing.

An all female dance troupe at Florida A&M University has been suspended pending an investigation into a weekend report of hazing. The report came from a parent who called the school on Tuesday afternoon. The group was suspended before the end of the day.

A promotional video from the FAMU Torque Dancers screams “Why Don’t You Love Me?

The all female dance group was suspended late Tuesday after a parent reported an alleged hazing over the Labor Day Weekend. Freshmen were reportedly forced to drink alcohol and run up a hill. FAMU police are investigating.

The anonymous police report says only that the incident happened on Jakes and Paterson Street.

The report came out on the same day FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson was beginning a series of anti hazing workshops. He told Boosters on Wednesday that the message must get out.

“The point that I want to make is that we will take swift and decisive action It is very disappointing, but at the same time there are a lot of students out there that have gotten the message” says Robinson.

There were mixed reactions on campus. Some students didn’t want to talk about it at all.

“I gotta. I gotta be somewhere really quickly” is what one camouflage clad student told us. Others, like Elizabeth Oyecora, called the alleged incident unforgivable. “They didn’t learn so they deserve what happened to them. So, I guess other organizations will learn from this” says the first year Pharmacy student.

FAMU’s reputation for hazing became national news with the death of drum major Robert Champion last November. Colin Johnson chose to enroll this fall anyway. “It’s like, sometimes certain individuals will make bad choices. But overall I still feel like FAMU is a good decent school to go to”, says Johnson.

The investigation may lead off campus and involve Tallahassee Police. Until resolved, the dance troupe will remain suspended.

An all female dance troupe at Florida A&M University has been suspended pending an investigation into a weekend report of hazing. The report came from a parent who called the school on Tuesday afternoon. The group was suspended before the end of the day.

This is a promotional video from the FAMU Torque Dancers.

NAT. “Why Don’t You Love Me?”

The all female dance group was suspended late Tuesday after a parent reported an alleged hazing over the Labor Day Weekend. Freshmen were reportedly forced to drink alcohol and run up a hill. FAMU police are investigating.

The anonymous police report says only that the incident happened on Jakes and Paterson Street.

The report came out on the same day FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson was beginning a series of anti hazing workshops. He told Boosters on Wednesday that the message must get out.

“The point that I want to make is that we will take swift and decisive action It is very disappointing, but at the same time there are a lot of students out there that have gotten the message” says Robinson.

There were mixed reactions on campus. Some students didn’t want to talk about it at all.

“I gotta. I gotta be somewhere really quickly” is what one camouflage clad student told us. Others, like Elizabeth Oyecora, called the alleged incident unforgivable. “They didn’t learn so they deserve what happened to them. So, I guess other organizations will learn from this” says the first year Pharmacy student.

FAMU’s reputation for hazing became national news with the death of drum major Robert Champion last November. Colin Johnson chose to enroll this fall anyway. “It’s like, sometimes certain individuals will make bad choices. But overall I still feel like FAMU is a good decent school to go to”, says Johnson.

The investigation may lead off campus and involve Tallahassee Police. Until resolved, the dance troupe will remain suspended.


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