TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida A&M University (FAMU) Board of Trustees Monday approved the creation of an independent committee to examine the problem of hazing and ways to eradicate it from campus life.
The committee is part of a broader plan adopted by the FAMU Board of Trustees which would also establish an on-campus memorial to Robert Champion and a scholarship in his name. Champion, a student and member of FAMU’s Marching 100 band, died after an alleged hazing incident in November 2011.
“The FAMU Anti-Hazing Committee will be forward-looking and will be charged with seeking solutions to hazing,” said Board of Trustee Member Belinda Shannon. “It will look at how other institutions addressed hazing problems and examine what has worked. It will also look at how to best get students to resist hazing.”
The FAMU Anti-Hazing Committee will consist of five members who are recognized experts in matters relevant to the issues associated with hazing and who are independent of FAMU. Shannon will coordinate the Board’s effort over the next 30 days to build the committee and establish details of its scope, operation, timelines and expected results, all of which will be shared with the Board of Trustees at its February meeting.
Shannon is the board’s liaison with DKC Public Relations, which was hired to assist with crisis communications for the Robert Champion matter. The plan, approved by the Board in a vote of 9-1 , suggested that FAMU Anti-Hazing Committee members have some background in law, academia, public policy or psychology, and experience leading businesses or other large organizations. A member could also have experience in a similar college marching band or with a national band organization.
Shannon stressed that the Committee will not examine or investigate the circumstances of recent hazing incidents at FAMU, or any other matters under investigation by law enforcement, so as not to conflict with any on-going reviews.
“It is important to note that, even as we discuss this plan, our hearts and prayers go out to Mr. Champion’s family and others who have been impacted by the events surrounding his death,” said Shannon.
In outlining the plan, Shannon said the “plan represents the collective interests of the University, including the Board, the administration, the students, and all of our constituents and supporters.”