[UPDATE] TPD Releases FAMU Hazing Interview Tapes

By: Eyewitness News, Lanetra Bennett, Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News, Lanetra Bennett, Julie Montanaro Email

Two Florida A & M professors are accused of hazing.

Tallahassee Police interviewed nearly a dozen people about those allegations. Today 3-29-12 they released those taped interrogations.

Those witnesses not only say those two faculty members knew about the hazing, but they accuse them of participating in it. These are allegations one of those faculty members vehemently denies.

This is FAMU assistant professor Anthony Simons. This is video of him being interrogated by the Tallahassee Police Department. Simons is one of two faculty members accused of a hazing a student. Accusations Simons fiercely denies.

"When someone says I participated in paddling, I'm Marching Band from 93-97 I never touched no body while I was a student so why would I do it when I'm an adult and I work there?," says Simons.

Police pepper Simons with questions about the suspected hazing. According to the report, members of Kappa Kappa Psi were initiated inside the home of associate professor Diron Holloway The report accuses both Holloway and Simons of taking part in the hazing.

"He guessed twenty to twenty five licks. It was more a time thing than an amount of licks. And he said he specifically remembered you gave him about ten of his licks," says the investigator.

"That's a lie, says Simons"

Simons says he was victim of hazing when he was in the band. He goes on to lament what happened to Robert Champion, a band member who died last year. Police say Champion died from a beating he received while being hazed.

"We all had an opportunity all the staff of the marching band, to stand up and we failed," says Simons.

The statute of limitations has expired. Neither man will face any criminal charges

WCTV tried to reach out to Halloway. But could not get in touch with him for comment. Both men have been placed on paid leave by the school.
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UPDATED 3.29.2012 7pm by Julie Montanaro

FAMU police are defending their handling of a hazing investigation involving two professors.

Those music professors were suspended with pay.

Even though they will not face criminal charges, students say they must be held accountable if they participated in hazing or watched it and said nothing.

"Some things are not acceptable as em employee. I feel the university will take the right actions for those employees and investigate this hazing situation properly," FAMU student Fredrick Mixon said.

FAMU President James Ammons announced Wednesday THAT associate professor Diron Holloway and assistant professor Anthony Simons were placed on leave with pay while the university takes a closer look at a hazing ritual that Tallahassee Police say took place in Holloway's home on Doomar Drive back in 2010.

One of the Kappa Kappa Psi pledges suboenaed to answer questions about it says the pledges recited information two by two that night.

Randall Reid confirmed it happened at Holloway's home. He said Holloway was there, but he denied that there was any hazing.

"Did you see anyone getting pushed, shoved, touched in any way?" asked assistant state attorney Eddie Evans.

"No, sir," said Reid.

"Did you see anyone getting paddled?" Evans asked.

"No."

We went to Holloway's home in Southwood. There was no answer and we have not been able to reach him or his attorney.

An attorney for professor Simons said he has denied the accusations from the beginning but declined to comment on his suspension from FAMU.

FAMU spokeswoman Pam Tolson says both Holloway and Simons are FAMU music education graduates. Holloway was hired by FAMU in 2003 and is an associate professor of music and director of clarinets and saxophones. Simons is an assistant professor of music for euphonium and tuba and has been working at FAMU since 2007.

"You have to be held accountable. It's important that our faculty are being leaders, not just workers, per se. They need to be leaders," FAMU student Jerome Maples said.

The hazing investigation is now closed. The professors will not face any criminal charges because prosecutors say the statute of limitations has run out.

FAMU Police today said they are not to blame for that.

The chief says initial reports indicated the incident happened in spring 2011 not spring of 2010.

He says his investigators started working on the case and did not know the window to press charges was fast approaching.

"There is no requirement that if a case does not origiinate on campus that we have to turn it over to an outside agency. The investigators had every intention of working this case through to the end," Chief Calvin Ross said.

Chief Ross says 90% of the hazing cases they work happen off campus where they are out of reach of any university sanctions.

Chief Ross says FAMU investigators were working on this case along with the Robert Champion investigation and several other hazing cases.

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UPDATED 3.28.2011 10:40pm by Julie Montanaro

FAMU Police Chief Calvin Ross says FAMU officers were investigating allegations that band fraternity members may have been hazed at the home of a faculty member.

Ross says FAMU PD received the complaint from band director Julian White in November 2011. He says his investigators were told it happened in the spring of 2011, not the spring of 2010. Ross says that's why there was no reason to rush the case or immediately turn it over to Tallahassee Police.

Ross says in the months between November 2011 and January 2012 (when it was turned over to TPD), his investigators were working several hazing cases, including assisting the Orange County Sheriff's Office in its investigation of the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

Ross says FAMU PD initially intended to do this investigation itself and seek arrest warrants if any criminal charges were warranted.

"There was nothing unusual or out of order," Ross said. "We work off-campus hazing cases too."

Ross pointed out the two year statute of limitations wasn't the only reason the case was closed without any arrests. He echoed prosecutors who said the victim did not want to press charges and some of the witnesses were not cooperative.

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FAMU Music Department Faculty Placed on Administrative Leave
FAMU Press Release -- March 28, 2012 --

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Two members of the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Music faculty were placed on administrative leave. Diron T. Holloway, associate professor of music and director of clarinets and saxophones, and Anthony E. Simons III, assistant professor of music for euphonium and tuba, have been placed on administrative leave with pay effective today. According to the written notice sent to the faculty members, this administrative action occurred due to “allegations of misconduct and/or incompetence involving reports and allegations of hazing within the Department of Music and the Marching ‘100.’”

These allegations of hazing, which appear to have occurred off campus in 2010, were outlined in a report released today by the Tallahassee Police Department. The matter is currently under administrative and legal review and investigation.

According to FAMU President James H. Ammons, upon completion of the review, “The University will take appropriate action against faculty members or students, up to and including dismissals.”

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[UPDATE] by Lanetra Bennett - March 28, 2012 - 6:18 p.m.

FAMU students say knowing hazing went on within the Marching 100 Band was troubling enough. But, say learning that faculty members may have been involved in incidents is even more shocking.

Student Raven Whitehead says, "It's like you're not safe on university campus; which is a shame."

A police report says two professors watched a 2010 hazing incident involving band members.

Students say they can't believe it happened at Music Professor Diron Holloway's home.

"It's just crazy." Says, Whitehead.

The report says Holloway and Anthony Simons watched pledges get slapped and paddled.

Whitehead says, "I feel like if the students will get in trouble, the professors should get in trouble, also. It's not just the students' fault. The faculty should have some responsibility if they were a part of the event."

Student Dario Harris says, "You're faculty members. People are supposed to feel like their child is safe around you and you're not providing that safety. But, at the same time, if you're a part of an organization, you really wouldn't want to break that code. But, it's still wrong."

Student Benjamin Fullington says, "It should go as far as suspension and getting fired; because as a faculty member, you should do right by student code, school code, and law code."

Marching 100 Band Director Dr. Julian White was put on administrative leave after drum major Robert Champion died from hazing last November.

Dr. White's attorney, Chuck Hobbs, released a statement on his behalf:

"Dr. White was appalled to learn that hazing incidents may have been facilitated by band staff, which is why he took it directly to law enforcement immediately upon learning about the same. He is extremely disappointed in the violation of trust by two employees that he trusted."

"Dr. White feels betrayed and undermined in that the very anti-hazing measures that he spent an entire career developing and implementing were usurped by staff members behind his back."

"Dr. White feels confident that he took the necessary steps to report this incident, but had no control over what happened next."

FAMU President James H. Ammons released this statement:

"It is extremely disturbing that this incident is alleged to have taken place. Although the Tallahassee Police Department report is dated March 20, 2012, the University was made aware of this report today. The allegations of hazing, which appear to have occurred off-campus in 2010, are currently under further administrative and legal review. The University will take appropriate action against faculty members or students, up to and including dismissals."

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[UPDATE] March 28, 2012 - 6:16 p.m.

Below is a statement from President James H. Ammons.
March 28, 2012

President James H. Ammons’ Statement Regarding the March 20, 2012

TPD Incident Report

"It is extremely disturbing that this incident is alleged to have taken place. Although the Tallahassee Police Department report is dated March 20, 2012, the University was made aware of this report today. The allegations of hazing, which appear to have occurred off-campus in 2010, are currently under further administrative and legal review. The University will take appropriate action against faculty members or students, up to and including dismissals."
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UPDATE 3.28.2012 by Julie Montanaro

Two FAMU music professors may have been present during an off-campus hazing ritual.

A Tallahassee Police investigation came to that conclusion.

No one was arrested and police have closed the case. Prosecutors say the statute of limitations ran out.

The student says he wanted to be part of Kappa Kappa Psi. He told Tallahassee Police he and as many as 13 other pledges were slapped and paddled inside a house on Doomar Drive back in 2010.

"Met 'em a few times every now and then outside. Never had any insight of what was going on inside. No idea at all. It's really shocking," said neighbor Robert Tidwell.

The student told police at the time it was the home of FAMU professor Diron Holloway. He told police Holloway and fellow music faculty member Anthony Simons were both there.

Neither will face any criminal charges.

"No one has been arrested, no one will be arrested," said Tallahassee Police Spokesman David Northway.

Tallahassee Police say the incident wasn't reported to FAMU police until November 2011 (soon after the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion) and FAMU police didn't turn it over to them until January 2012.

By the time police interviewed the students who were there, prosecutors say, the two year statute of limitations was up.

"I'm not going to say that's what killed the case was the statute of limitations not having occurred, but I can tell you at this stage of the ball game we can't prove it so we can't go forward on it," assistant state attorney Eddie Evans said.

Tallahassee Police reports say the student, who initially told one of his professors about it, did not want to press charges and prosecutors say some of the witnesses were uncooperative.

Net result? There were no charges filed against anyone.

We are still awaiting a response from FAMU's police chief as to why the investigation wasn't turned over to TPD sooner.

We have not been able to reach professor Holloway.

Assistant professor Simons referred us to his lawyer. Mutaqee Akbar said Simons cooperated with the investigation, has denied the accusations from the beginning and is satisfied the case is closed.

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Tallahassee, Florida - March 28, 2012 -

Police say two FAMU faculty members were present when band fraternity hazing took place at the home of a professor, but police say no arrests have been made and they don't expect to make any.

A Tallahassee police investigative report released Wednesday, though, says no charges will be filed. Report is attached in PDF format above.

It says most witnesses confirmed that band fraternity pledges were repeatedly slapped on the back or neck but investigators cannot prove it happened within a two-year statute of limitations.

The alleged hazing occurred in the spring of 2010. Tallahassee police did not find out about the incident until it was reported in the news media two months ago.

The incident came to light following the November hazing death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion. He died after suffering blunt trauma while the Marching 100 was in Orlando for a football game.

Stay with WCTV for much more on this story.


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