Florida A&M University to Host Town Hall Meeting on Hazing

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Tallahassee, FL - September 13, 2012

Florida A&M University (FAMU) will host a Town Hall Meeting on Hazing on Thursday, September 20 at 2 p.m. in the Alfred L. Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium. Interim President Larry Robinson and thousands of FAMU students and faculty will attend this town hall meeting. It is open to the public.

The interactive town hall meeting will feature a panel discussion, a question-and-answer portion where audience members will be able to tweet in their questions for the panelists via the hashtag #FAMUtownhall, and electronic polling throughout the event. The town hall meeting will also be webcast for individuals who are unable to attend.

During the meeting, panelists will dissect the cause of hazing and the personal responsibilities students have to stop the illegal “rite of passage.”

The FAMU Town Hall Meeting on Hazing panelists are as follows:

• Naim Akbar, a clinical psychologist, who has been described by ESSENCE magazine as “one of the world’s preeminent African-American psychologists and a pioneer in the development of an African-centered approach to modern psychology.” A graduate of the University of Michigan, he has authored several books related to the personality development of African-American people. He is a past president of the National Association of Black Psychologists. He has been lauded for his outstanding lectures at more than 300 colleges, community settings and conferences throughout the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia;

• Elizabeth Allan, an associate professor of higher educational leadership at the University of Maine, is the author of two books and co-editor of a policy text. Her award-winning scholarship focuses on campus climates and has been featured in premier education journals including the Harvard Educational Review and The Journal of Higher Education. Allan’s professional experience in educating about hazing spans two decades and includes research, prevention, student affairs and policy work. She was the principal investigator for the National Study of Student Hazing (2008) and has authored and co-authored numerous articles, essays, book chapters and encyclopedia entries on the topic of hazing. Allan earned a Ph.D. in educational policy and leadership from The Ohio State University, an M.S. in health promotion and B.S. in psychology from Springfield College;

• Attorney Rasheed-Ali Cromwell, an associate for the SG Consulting Group, is one of the leading authorities on fraternity and sorority life on college campuses. Through the Harbor Institute, Cromwell has provided training, consulting, keynote speeches and workshops for students and advisers at more than 160 higher education institutions in the areas of black-Greek lettered organizations. Currently, Cromwell teaches a course at Howard University in Washington, DC and a black Greek leadership class at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Additionally, he serves as editor for his graduate chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. in Washington, DC and as parliamentarian for the DC National Pan-Hellenic Council. He graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. At North Carolina A&T he served as student government president, vice basileus (president) of the Mu Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and vice president of the Iota Zeta chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi Fraternity, Inc., while serving as a member of the North Carolina A&T marching band;

• Victor Gaines, the president of the Marching “100” Band Association Inc., is a former trumpet player and head drum major of the FAMU Marching “100” band. Gaines formed the association in 2000 for the purposes of supporting the academic needs and enhancing the FAMU bands. The organization has provided thousands of dollars in band camp scholarships for high school musicians who have a desire to attend the FAMU Summer Band Camp, academic scholarships and book vouchers through its website and other initiatives; and

• Hank Nuwer is a hazing researcher and author of four books on hazing. He is best known for his four young adult and adult books on the topic of hazing in society including high school hazing. Nuwer is a social critic whose specialty is the topic of hazing as an international human rights abuse issue and American high school and campus safety issue. He teaches journalism at Franklin College in Indiana.

• Marissa West leads FAMU’s Student Government Association as the 2012-2013 student body president. West is active in several campus organizations including the National Council of Negro Women, Relay for Life and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

James Bland, former FAMU Student Government Association vice president and co-president of Hometeam Entertainment, will serve as the moderator for the event. Bland initiated the website “FAMU United,” where FAMU alumni posted their achievements to shed a positive light on the contributions on the university. Bland earned his degree from FAMU’s School of Business and Industry in 2008. While a student, the multi-talented filmmaker wrote and directed his first feature film, “Dreaming in Color.” The first project to be released under the Hometeam banner is the web series, “FAIL,” where Bland acts and serves as one of the executive producers. He is also directing a documentary titled, “Mission Swaziland,” which is a look at American volunteers on a mission to help the Kingdom of Swaziland but culture, tradition and politics get in the way.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (850) 599-3413.

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