Bryan F. Smith is scheduled to report to work Friday, according to a statement from the university.
Florida A&M announced the hiring of Smith, who will serve as the anti-hazing administrator, to students and faculty via email last week.
Smith will assist Interim President Larry Robinson.
“We are confident that with his expertise, he will ensure that all of the initiatives that have been put in place will be implemented,” Robinson said, according to the email.
Earlier this month, the board of trustees gave its approval to create an anti-hazing committee to further examine the culture of hazing.
While trying to get to the root of the problem, Smith plans to execute his vision beyond just the campus by exploring other reasons or causes of hazing on and off campus.
“I also want to get into the community because if we’re speaking about hazing specifically, I don’t feel that that behavior is always learned when they get on campus,” Smith said. “I honestly believe that some of that behavior may come from the high schools or middle schools. Our society as a whole kind of condones that.”
The university continues to move forward in its efforts to create a solution following the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.
Smith said the reputation and integrity of this institution need to be protected.
“I am a little bothered sometimes over the last year and a half,” he said. “If you hear the words ‘Florida A&M’ or ‘FAMU,’ sometimes you get weird looks or skepticism. So I am a little eager to try to help maintain the integrity of the university and to help in any way that I could to reestablish the greatness that is associated with Florida A&M.”
Tajh Ashley, a junior music industry student from Atlanta and Marching “100” member, has a positive outlook on the changes the university is making.
“I feel it’s promoting a good image for the school because we are showing we are actually making an effort to do something about hazing,” Ashley said. “Even if it’s something as simple as creating a committee, it’s a very good thing for the school to do.”
Sen. Anthony Siders, a senior political science student from West Palm Beach, serves on the Student Government Association’s Finance Committee.
“My fear is that this is another step that the university is taking for PR (public relations) purposes, and I also don’t want it to be as if we are just going through the motions and this is done for formality purposes,” Siders said. “If we can actually produce tangible results – positive, measurable outcomes – then we will see the fruits of the labor.”