A dance team at Florida A&M University (FAMU) in Tallahassee has been suspended because of an alleged hazing incident off campus last weekend.
FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson is putting the “zero tolerance” policy for hazing into practice.
“The University takes very seriously any allegation of hazing and has moved quickly to shut the organization down pending the outcome of an investigation,” said Robinson.
“It is unconscionable that a student organization would participate in any hazing activity considering what has transpired in the past year.”
Robinson is referring to the hazing death of 26-year-old drum major Robert Champion last fall and other cases of students being injured. The entire Marching 100 band is suspended indefinitely, so FAMU’s home football games will feature guest performers.
More than a dozen people are facing criminal charges related to Champion’s death.
The latest incident involves the all-female Torque Dance Team. Robinson said he got a tip from an anonymous parent about members being forced to drink alcohol and run up hills.
Robinson told the Tallahassee Democrat, “We know this is not something we can wipe out overnight.”
Robinson took charge of the university after Dr. James Ammons suddenly resigned in July. He was appointed by FAMU trustees as they conduct a national search for Ammons’ replacement.
FAMU has instituted an ethics hotline and webpage for anyone who wants to report concerns.
The new hazing allegation comes as FAMU enrollment is down more than expected.
Administrators figured they’d lose about 500 students from last year’s record high of 13,300. It looks like the drop will be closer to 800.
The university says the decline is for reasons other than bad publicity over hazing.
FAMU has set tougher admission standards after accepting too many students who weren’t qualified academically.
Families are also struggling financially, leading some upperclassmen to drop out.