‘Nothing New’ at Friday’s Safety Forum, Students Say

Author and attorney Rasheed Ali Cromwell urged Florida A&M students Friday to rethink traditions, like hazing, in the wake of recent controversies at the university. Students, however, argued that Cromwell’s message was much like past messages.

More than a thousand students packed Gaither Gymnasium for the semester’s first safety and anti-hazing forum.

Cromwell also spoke about how organizations are founded on purposeful mission statements that they do not strictly uphold to now.

“Greeks went from study groups to stepping and strolling,” said Cromwell, who wrote “The MIs-education of the Black Greek.” Cromwell has delivered his speech to more than 125 different universities in the US.

Some students like Mareshah Owusu-Yaw, a third-year engineering student, said the forum didn’t really teach anything new.

“[There was] nothing that I didn’t already know,” said Owusu-Yaw. “It was just more entertaining than last years’.”

Students whispered among themselves: “Why do they have us here?” and “how many more of these do we have to attend?” The doors closed promptly at 7:05 p.m.

Gabriell Riggins, member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, thought the speech was focused on black greek-lettered organizations.

“This seemed like it was supposed to be a greek seminar instead of involving all organizations,” Riggins said.

On Saturday the National Pan-Hellenic Council met in Lee Hall for the second day of the forum, with the focus more on leadership.

President of the NPHC, Dominique Cole, member of Omega Psi Phi, said that Greek unity was one of the biggest accomplishments at the meeting on Saturday.

“All of us shared the same concerns with both days of the forum,” Cole said. “We wanted questions answered and we had the same mindset. We definitely accomplished Greek unity.”

The forum touched on why clubs and organizations are imitating black Greek-letter organizations. It was rumored throughout the meeting that all clubs and organizations could be placed on suspension for the semester.

Cromwell stressed that the NPHC needed a plan to get the message of what can happen during a process and what organizations can and cannot do as a non-Divine Nine organization.

“This is what we’re going to do related to strolling and stepping, this what we’re going to do related to processes and this is what we’re going to do related to consciousness on our campus,” said Cromwell. “And ya’ll can do it. You just have to be willing to take the challenge.”

FAMU is trying to keep this new form of anti-hazing awareness strong by making guest speakers more common. “We’re going to keep bringing people to talk to the students about hazing and other issues as well,” said Green.

William Hudson Jr., FAMU Vice-President of Student Affairs, ended the seminar with words of his own.

“This is a very important start for the healing process at Florida A&M,” Hudson said.