FAMU Anti-Hazing Rules Come Under Fire

By: Lanetra Bennett
April 11, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - A FAMU student once named as a hazing victim comes forward to dispute the allegations.

The Delta Sigma Theta pledge says she was not hazed.

"Their efforts put forth to eradicate a culture of hazing has gone overboard." Says, FAMU student Inita Knox.

Knox gradually got emotional as she told the board of trustees about being wrongfully labeled as a hazing victim.

She says, "Because FAMU has not been able to come to a timely and professional decision in a timely manner, we, the pledges have been effected financially and mentally, and have occurred emotional distress."

Several sorority sisters of Delta Sigma Theta were suspended last month after someone reported that pledges were hazed at a gathering on February 5th.

Knox passed out, but, she says it was not because of hazing. She told trustees Thursday that she has a pre-existing heart condition, and that her heart murmur causes her to randomly pass out.

No criminal charges were filed in the investigation. That is why the father of one of the students suspended says the students were not given due process.

The father drove from Atlanta, Georgia to tell the trustees, "The worst form of hazing is what's being done to my daughter right now. She's stressed out. She's seeking medical attention. She's certainly being harmed by what's going on with the office of judicial affairs. Please reconsider."

Sheree Oats made a statement on behalf of all of the sorority sisters.

She read, "We completely understand FAMU seeking to firm a stance on zero tolerance for hazing. However, we do not understand how this university can willingly put excellent students out of their school without just cause."

A few trustees asked FAMU Interim President Dr. Larry Robinson to follow up on all of the concerns brought up at the meeting no later than Friday evening.

Dr. Robinson says administrators are sensitive to the concerns. He says to hear the impact that the students say they feel touched everyone in the room.

Dr. Robinson added that at the same time, the university has to operate to maintain an atmosphere of safety. He says he will follow up the the students' and families' concerns as soon as possible.

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Tough new anti-hazing rules at Florida A&M University are coming under fire.

A handful of students, as well as the father of a FAMU student, pleaded Thursday with the FAMU board to help them.

They complained that students have been unfairly dismissed from school because of the zero-tolerance hazing rules, including some who have been told they cannot return to campus for five years.

A FAMU sorority was investigated earlier this spring, but law-enforcement authorities decided against pursuing criminal charges. Some of the sorority members were still dismissed by the school.

FAMU made sweeping changes in how it responds to hazing in the wake of the November 2011 death of a drum major. The family has sued the university contending it did not do enough to stop hazing.

By: Lanetra Bennett
April 11, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - The Delta Sigma Theta pledge, Inita Knox, asks trustees and administrators to resolve the Delta Sigma Theta hazing allegations. Knox maintains she passed out the night of the incident because of a medical condition, not from hazing.

The father of one of the sorority members who was suspended from FAMU also spoke during the public comment portion of the Board of Trustees meeting. He says the university is hazing his daughter by keeping her on suspension when law enforcement did not find any wrongdoing in the hazing allegation case.

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