Revisions to anti-hazing law proposed

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Photo Submitted by Alea Williams

Florida’s anti-hazing law could be revised in the legislative session. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee this week approved the proposed bill that would make people who organize hazing accountable if someone is seriously injured or dies, even if the organizer did not participate in the event.

The current anti-hazing law only addresses pledges and active members for any hazing act.

“I believe that it can be very beneficial to all organizations including sororities and fraternities if they’re Greek or non-Greek …It will be a better asset for safety reasons,” Jordan Sheppard, member of Phi Beta Sigma.

Sheppard said that if people want to be part of an organization (sorority or fraternity) they would have a feeling of reassurance rather than the fear of being hazed. He also thinks that victims of hazing will be in support of the bill.

The parents of Andrew Coffey made an emotional appeal in support of the bill. Coffey was the Florida State University student that died of alcohol poisoning in November 2017 at an off-campus fraternity party.

“I have heard stories; people have said that they have seen people getting hazed. Horrible things like getting drunk and being rolled down a hill. Getting drunk to the point that (the person) is unconscious,” Moriah Treadwell, a member of Phi Sigma Theta Honor Society and a senior music major at Florida A&M University, said.  

Treadwell mentioned that there is no perfect university, but the new bill is a good thing and safety is key. This bill will help have a better future for all universities.

Florida A&M’s 2011 hazing incident, where a drum major with FAMU’s Marching 100 was hazed and killed as a result, led to changes for student organizations.

Edwin Mompremier, a junior biology major and Marching 100 band member, said, “Me as a member of the band, (my priority is) making sure that we move forward. I think that moving forward (we) have to follow the rules, like anti-hazing. Times are changing and progressing, and I don’t want anybody or organization to fall back.”

Mompremier said he does not believe in hazing and that the revised bill proposal is a step in the right direction.   

This revised bill proposal also provides immunity for the first person who calls 911 to get help for a hazing victim, even if they were participants in the activity.