FAMU Anti-Hazing Committee Meetings Open to the Public

By: The News Service of Florida
By: The News Service of Florida

FAMU Anti-Hazing Committee Meetings Open to the Public
FAMU Press Release

Tallahassee, Florida - March 30, 2012 -

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Board of Trustees today made a decision to have the FAMU Anti-Hazing Committee make recommendations to the board.

Earlier this month, at the urging of the FAMU Anti-Hazing Committee, the board voted to allow the committee to be fact finding and provide information. The Board voted unanimously for the proposed procedural process, based on the Anti-hazing Committee’s request, and its desire to act in the most timely and efficient way toward accomplishing its task of helping end hazing at FAMU.

The Board’s decision today requires the university to provide public notice before each meeting of the committee and allow public access to the meetings.

“The public has been extremely interested in the Anti-Hazing Committee and the apparent change in its mode of operations, namely acting as “fact-finding” committee,” said FAMU Board Chairman Solomon Badger III. “There have been numerous news articles written and coverage in other media. By deciding that the committee will make recommendations rather than be fact-finding, gives our constituents the opportunity to participate in these meetings and to hear the exchange of ideas on this topic of hazing.”

According to Badger, today’s decision by the FAMU board does not change the focus areas of the committee, which is to look into the following issues:

• Hazing at other universities and how has it been handled?
• Getting students to resist hazing; what has worked?
• How do we best govern the Marching “100” and their activities?

FAMU President James H. Ammons fully supports the board’s decision.

“I look forward to the FAMU Anti-Hazing Committee providing invaluable insight, as we all work together to eradicate hazing,” said Ammons.

Members of the FAMU Anti-Hazing Committee include:

• Stephen Craig Robinson (Chairman) - Former U.S. District Court Judge and current partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom;
• Dr. Na'im Akbar - Clinical Psychologist and Former President, National Association of Black Psychologists;
• Dr. Elizabeth Allan - Professor, University of Maine & Co-Director, The National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention;
• Dr. Michael V. Bowie - Executive Director of Florida Fund for Minority Teachers & former national president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council;
• David Brewer - Former Vice Admiral of the United States Navy & Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District;
• Dr. Mary Madden - Professor, University of Maine & Co-Director, The National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention; and
• David Starnes - Band Director and Professor of Music at Western Carolina University.

The FAMU Anti-Hazing Committee is an independent committee tasked with providing information on determining the most effective and indelible approach to end hazing on campus. This esteemed group includes a diverse mix of thought and policy leaders from across the country, with invaluable experience and expertise that is related to all aspects of hazing and its culture. The FAMU Anti-Hazing Committee will work in unison with the ongoing efforts of the FAMU community to address the issue of hazing. It is part of the University’s comprehensive plan to end hazing at FAMU and was approved by the Board of Trustees on January 2.

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Board of Governors Chair Ask For Open FAMU Meetings

Tallahassee, Florida - March 30, 2012 -

The chairman of the university system's governing board is asking Florida A&M University to reconsider a decision to allow its anti-hazing committee to meet in private. Dean Colson, chairman of the Florida Board of Governors, issued a letter late Thursday asking the FAMU board of trustees to look at the matter again. "Further, the need for transparency is particularly heightened in this situation because hazing is an activity normally conducted under a cloak of secrecy, and -- rightly or wrongly -- the university has been accused of failing to take sufficient action to prevent and/or respond to well-chronicled hazing-related activities," Colson wrote to FAMU Board Chairman Solomon Badger. FAMU officials decided earlier this month to change the hazing panel from an "advisory body," which has to hold open meetings, to a "fact-finding body," which does not. Gov. Rick Scott has also criticized the decision. Colson's letter comes in the wake of new allegations growing out of an investigation into the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion in November. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating Champion's death, which was ruled a homicide by Orange County medical examiners. Allegations surfaced earlier this week that two faculty members were on hand for a different hazing incident at one of the faculty member's homes in 2010.


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