FAMU holds mandatory anti-hazing town hall meeting

Students to sign anti-hazing pledge to register

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida A&M University took two steps forward Thursday, holding a mandatory town hall meeting for students on hazing and putting the hiring of a new president on the fast track.

Drum Major Robert Champion had signed an anti-hazing pledge before participating in the ritual that took his life.

Students are now being told they'll have to sign a similar pledge to be able to register this spring. One student seemed unsure, seeking answers from the Board of Trustees.

"I don't know when we're supposed to sign this and I haven't seen any release from the university," said Travis Roberts, a FAMU student.

Students arrived for a mandatory anti-hazing town hall meeting in droves. Psychologist and panel participant Na'im Akbar says students will have to assess their own self-esteem.

"We come with that kind of predisposition to somehow try to get accepted and try to be a part of and therefore we will pay prices very often," said Na'im Akbar, retired psychologist.

Interim President Larry Robinson says his hope is that repetition of the anti-hazing message will eventually get through.

"Having students understand that there is nothing about hazing that is beneficial to them," said Dr. Larry Robinson, Interim President.

For students who attended, the meeting was as much about learning how to stop others as it was to get information.

"Hopefully they will really, you know, grasp the concept of anti-hazing," said Liqueia Davis, a FAMU dance major.

FAMU canceled classes so students could come. They called the meeting mandatory, but they actually have no way of forcing students to attend.

A dance troupe remains suspended after police investigated an alleged Labor Day hazing; proving that even last year's death hasn't yet stopped the ritual.

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