Category Archives: Hazing

FAMU band hazing suspension extended to 2013

The Florida A&M University marching band, suspended after the November hazing death of a drum major, Robert Champion, will remain suspended for at least one more school year.

Eleven band members face felony charges in the death. Two others are charged with misdemeanors. Champion died aboard a band bus in Orlando. FAMU is in Tallahassee.

University President James Ammons said the band should not perform until a new band director is hired and new rules have been adopted. Band Director Julian White recently retired, having survived an attempt by Ammons to remove him. Ammons said Monday he has no intention of resigning himself.

Related: Band hazing can be deadly

Next wave: anti-hazing laws

By Hayley Beitman
Staff writer

As states and universities adopt more anti-hazing laws, there is evidence that hazing is a legal issue around the world. The Philippines, for example, has a national anti-hazing law. In the United States, hazing is regulated at state and local levels.

Hazing laws vary by state, so one collective definition does not yet exist. Hazing as defined by Jacinda Boucher, author of Hazing and Higher Education, “encompasses an extensive range of behaviors and activities, ranging from seemingly innocuous activities such as blindfolding and scavenger hunts, to more dangerous and extreme physical punishments, including sleep deprivation and excessive exercise.”

Hank Nuwer, hazing author and public speaker, defines bullying as mean or dangerous behavior meant to exclude someone from a group; His contrasting definition of hazing is bringing someone into a group, even if it is silly or demeaning. The problem according to Nuwer is that hazing can also be bullying in such cases like a football team not wanting a member to join.

Glenn Stutzky, clinical social worker at Michigan State University, defines hazing as group bullying. Everyone’s definition is a little different which makes talking about the same thing difficult.

Team building toppling hazing one coach at a time

By Seth Beifel
Staff writer

Hazing rituals, long a part of some college and high school sports teams, is getting more scrutiny

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, which governs college sports, now monitors hazing.

In 2007, it published a report titled, “Building New Traditions: Hazing Prevention in College Athletics.” The report outlines roles for everyone involved with collegiate athletics ranging from school administrators to coaches to players. Recognizing behaviors of the past, the NCAA recommends a departmental approach to hazing prevention. “The effort to create a change in attitudes and behavior will be worth the effort if it prevents one student-athlete from a humiliating or degrading experience, physical injury or psychological harm, as a result of a hazing incident!”

The need to prevent bullying is being discussed at the high school level, as well.

Military Hazing: Rite or Wrong?

By Tony Briscoe
Staff writer

When Sean Paul Brinston joined the Navy, he didn’t know that piling charred human feces would be how he would serve his country.

While in Afghanistan, Navy corpsman Brinston’s platoon was ordered by a sergeant to tidy up a burn pit — a landfill of garbage, thrown-out food and human defecation.

“All of the stuff down there is anything you can think of, and at night coyotes get down there,” said Brinston, who is based at a naval medical center in Portsmouth, Va.

The company reluctantly began the daunting task, an experience that Brinston now considers hazing.

“We used to burn the ‘wag bags’ (bags of feces) at night, but some of them weren’t burned that day because everyday bags get thrown down there,” he said. “It smelled horrible.”

Band hazing can be deadly

By Devyne Lloyd and Allen Martin
Staff writers

Bands are well known for initiations. New members come in under the old members, do as they’re told and at some point they hopefully become full members with full benefits. The continued success of an organization depends on the knowledge, dedication and traditions of its members. However, numerous reports find that collegiate and even high school bands use initiations that involve physical and mental abuse. This is hazing.

Musical instruments on sidewalk

© iStockphoto, Korhan Hasim Tsik

Robert Champion, a former drum major in the band at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, died from shock due to severe blood loss during a hazing ritual for the band fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi, Inc.,  in 2011. Several FAMU band members were suspended and charged after a girl’s thigh bone was broken in half while they beat her with instruments during another hazing ritual around November 2011. In 2006, the University of Wisconsin band was put on probation after a hazing incident involving alcohol abuse and sexual misconduct during a band trip. That prompted the assistant band director to resign. In 2008, the band was suspended for hazing incidents mirroring what happened in 2006.

In some cases, hazing occurs again and again at a college, even after someone is hurt. Band hazing can also carry from high school to college.

After Champion’s death, an investigation of his former high school in Georgia and 21 other Georgia high schools was launched by the district’s  administration. Two unnamed incidents occurred over the summer and Champion’s death prompted administration to investigate and suspend marching band activities for fear of inappropriate behavior among students.

Girls’ bullying can be almost secret

By Samantha Schmitt
Staff writer

Bullying is becoming more prevalent in conversations and within schools, the media and government.

David P. Farrington, professor of psychological criminology at Cambridge University, and other researchers seem to have come to a consensus that females mostly bully each other verbally and psychologically. While this may have always been true, the introduction of the Internet and the use of it by children of younger and younger ages seems to have increased the aggressiveness of the attacks.

Even with more harm being caused, it is still not always as easy to recognize bullying when it occurs among girls.

“Cyberbullying”, a 2007 report by Amanda Lenhart for the Pew Internet and American Life Project, says that girls are more likely than boys to gossip online, making them more subject to being the topic of online rumors.

In “Teenage Girls’ Perceptions of the Functions of Relationally Aggressive Behaviors”, Bridget Reynolds and Rena Repetti wrote that girls are also more likely to be relationally aggressive with other girls than boys are to be with each other. Relational aggression is a subtle and indirect tactic used to attack relationships between friends and hurting self-esteem. It can include rumors, denying friendships, ignoring or social exclusion from a group of friends.

In “Bullying: What are the Differences between Boys and Girls?” Tanya Beran, professor of school psychology, wrote in an article that the secretive nature of this bullying may mean the attacker does not get caught. The attacks are then likely to become longer and more severe.

This kind of bullying is hard for adults to detect because indirectness allows the bully to avoid face-to-face confrontation. Since it is usually hidden from adults, there is no physical behavior to see.

Bullying between girls often happens within a group of friends, making it extremely difficult to not just see it as a typical conflict between teenage girl friends.