Hazing: A Black Eye on U.S. Campuses

Robert Champion died in November as a result of injuries sustained during a hazing incident on a bus following a band performance. Champion was a member of Florida A&M’s (FAMU) renowned marching band, The Marching 100. Many band members have been hazed and have participated in hazing, a practice that is prevelant in fraternities, sororities, teams and clubs across the nation. As a result, the FAMU band director was fired and the university president was asked to step down by the governor. FAMU has proposed a three-part plan to address hazing on its campus. Champion’s family is suing the bus company.

This case has produced national outrage, as it very well should. I have taken this long to blog about it because of my sadness and disgust. However, hazing is not new. It goes on everyday on campuses around the country. There are no statistics on annual hazing deaths but don’t you think just one is too many? It is time that something substantial be done to protect our young (and dumb!) people.

Hon. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) plans to introduce a federal anti-hazing law that would apply to universities with students who receive any level of federal aid. The law would pull financial aid from students who are present and/or involved in a hazing incident.

I don’t necessarily agree with a law attaching the punishment to students rather than the institution. I would rather see a law that forces universities to not turn a blind eye and be resposible for the activities on its campus. How about a university losing funding as a result of not producing and implementing an anti-hazing plan. Private schools would pay a significant fine- they would be included because they have students that receive federal aid. If a student is found responsible in an incident, let the police deal with it.

Just my take. We have to do something to stop our young people from dying when they go off to college.

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