BOT lays out plans for anti-hazing committee


                Belinda Shannon, board member and liaison between FAMU and DKC Inc., said the plan is to establish an on-campus memorial for Robert Champion, a Robert Champion scholarship and the establishment of a an anti-hazing committee, which would be compiled within the next month.

                The committee’s main focus would be to identify and seek solutions to hazing at FAMU. The committee will not be involved in investigating current or future hazing incidents.

                The independent committee will include five experts relevant to the matters of hazing, including those versed in law, academia, public policy, psychology, leaders of large organizations and others who have been involved with national marching band organizations.

                “How do we best govern the Marching ‘100′ and their activities, hazing at other universities and how it has been handled and getting students to resist hazing and what has worked,” said Shannon.

                Their findings would result in recommendations to the FAMU Board of Trustees.

                Board member, Torey Alston had some doubts about creating another group assigned the task with looking into hazing. “Another committee, at this time, is not the answer. We have the expertise on this board to be independent of a committee,” said Alston. Alston proposed that the members who sit on the Board already had the expertise required to form the “blue ribbon” committee.

                Board members are being charged with making recommendations for members that will sit on the committee.

                “The point of this committee,” said board member Marjorie Turnbull, “is not to get in the way of the vital and key input from the board, but is to provide a very critical first step in collecting the best practice, experts and research that is already out there so that we can use it as a guide in moving forward.”      

                Trustee Narayan Persaud, who said he would not support creating another committee, called the plan “too simplistic” and urged that that another committee was not necessary and the implementation of another would take away from the work being done by the Board and administrators.

                The proposed committee follows the Florida Department of Law Enforcement calling for an earlier committee, put in place by President James H. Ammons immediately following Champion’s death, to be discontinued so as not to interfere with ongoing investigations.

                Ammons proposed members from his earlier task force, including former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth, who was scheduled to head that task force. “I really see an opportunity for aiding, facilitating and lending a hand if appropriate,” said Ammons.

                DKC Inc.’s other clients include, Delta Air Lines, New Balance and Sirius Satellite Radio.