Sergeant Sherri Luke and Florida A&M officials made their non-tolerance for hazing clear Monday evening at the “Rattlers Strike Out Hazing” forum.
“FAMU has a pretty low crime rate,” Luke said. “We plan on keeping it that way. Hazer or hazee – we are sending you home.”
Monday’s event was part of FAMU’s Hazing Prevention Week 2012, an effort to spread hazing awareness.
Luke led the discussion by speaking on the legal ramifications students will face if caught participating in hazing, which she defines as “a strenuous physical activity not having anything to do with your organization.”
Luke also made it clear to students that if they participate in off-campus hazing, they’ll still be caught. She mentioned that Orange County police was involved in the Robert Champion case, and the police department will be involved wherever the crime is committed.
After Luke spoke, Associate General Counsel David Self addressed the crowd. Self described the difference between a misdemeanor charge and a felony charge. A misdemeanor is a crime punishable for less than 365 days, and a felony is a charge punishable by more than 365 days.
Self mentioned when anti-hazing first became law. In 2005, there was an incident at Miami University where a fraternity made a pledgee, Chad Meredith, drink alcohol until his blood alcohol level was 0.13.
The older members of the fraternity then encouraged Meredith to swim across Lake Osceola, where he drowned 35 feet from the shore.
Self went on to describe more brutal hazing events.
“Any person on this campus needs to report it to the police within 24 hours,” Self said. “There are penalties if it’s not reported.”
Self discussed a new law in progress on Capitol Hill. The proposed law would deny students of any loans due to hazing.
However, Self thinks students will take these hazing meetings seriously.
“I hope they take it very seriously because the penalties are so high, and the reward from hazing is so low,” Self said. “There really is no upside to hazing. There is only a downside.”
Students like Tashanae Francis, a senior at Florida A&M, think the university is leading the way in terms of getting rid of hazing.
“I think FAMU is making a big statement as far as prevention, and I hope that everyone realizes how serious the university is taking the issue at hand versus other universities,” Francis said. “FAMU is making a big impact on hazing and how to prevent it.”