TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The president of Florida A&M University says he wants to make the school a national leader on how to deal with the problem of hazing.
James Ammons told the FAMU Board of Trustees on Wednesday he is taking a stand against hazing and will work to change the campus so that respect and dignity are the most important values at the school.
The board considered Ammons' plan to eliminate a culture of hazing on campus. The plan results from the hazing-related death of band member Robert Champion last November.
The proposal includes stricter oversight of the marching band, the Music Department and band members.
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Ammons said the school has a big task ahead to restore trust in the school to provide a safe environment for students, staff and faculty.
"You have my commitment to stay focused on this issue and put Florida A&M University in a leadership position nationally to deal with this issue and once and for all eradicating this culture, this campus culture at Florida A&M University of hazing."
Ammons said just as FAMU has been at the forefront of civil rights and social issues in the past, now he envisions the school leading the way on the effort to eliminate hazing across the nation.
"The Robert Champion matter has brought national attention and continued conversations about the issue and how hazing with all of the injuries and deaths that have occurred via hazing since 1873, that this culture and this act continues to exist. It continues to exist and continues to thrive because of the clandestine incidents, the secrecy and the cloak of silence about its dark existence.
"Here at Florida A&M University we're taking a stand ... against hazing. Some may say that it's not popular but it's the right stance. Some may say that it's not comfortable because of all of the attention and all of the conversations about Florida A&M University but we're going to have a compassionate approach to stamping out hazing from this campus and this culture."
FAMU is also trying to revive its Anti-Hazing Committee after several members decided to quit the panel. The board of trustees is moving to fill those slots with other experts.
First Coast News