Message clear during hazing prevention seminar

The message was very clear when FAMU hosted a hazing prevention seminar earlier this week.  

“FAMU has zero tolerance for any type of hazing being done,” Bryan Smith, who oversees FAMU’s anti-hazing efforts, said.

This was one of his opening statements, setting the tone for the seriousness of the seminar. Primary takeaways from the seminar include no paddling or beating, no forced alcohol or food consumption, and no exclusion from social interactions. All of these scenarios are serious hazing offenses and will not be tolerated, Smith said.

Students were required to attend Wednesday’s seminar in order to participate in any Greek life or recreational organization this fall semester. In addition to attendance at the seminar, students must complete an online hazing prevention module and present the certificate to the administration in the Efferson Student Union.

Felicia Barnes, William Clemm, and Smith spearheaded the seminar. Barnes is an administrator in the Efferson Student Union over student clubs and organizations, while Clemm is the director over all student organizations and clubs on campus. Smith is the ombudsman for the university. He was hired in 2012 with one sole task: to keep hazing off of FAMU’s campus.

FAMU is taking a strong initiative on hazing prevention in the aftermath of the 2011 hazing death of Marching 100 drum major Robert Champion. Champion’s death was hinted at multiple times, during the seminar. Marching 100 members are required to fill out their own pledge prior to the season beginning. Administrators also spoke on the suspensions of the Alpha Xi chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi and the Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.

This is the first time in seven years that all “Divine Nine” Greek organizations are on the campus of Florida A&M University. The administration is doing everything in its power to ensure that five organizations are in compliance for recruitment and intake this fall. Alpha Kappa Psi, Kappa Psi, Phi Mu Alpha, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Tau Beta Sigma. Other organizations that want to participate in recruitment and intake this fall must be cleared through Clemm in the Efferson Student Union. Clemm made it clear to all students present at the seminar that hazing is a choice.

“If you haze or choose to be hazed you will be prosecuted by the law to the fullest extent,” Clemm said emphatically.

 After the seminar Clemm said, “We want students to be as informed as possible so that students can have a positive intake or recruitment experience.”