December 14th, 2011
11:34 PM ET

Video: KTH: Hazing investigation and accountability

Did officials at Florida A&M ignore the culture of hazing that may have led to a student's death? Anderson Cooper is Keeping Them Honest.

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Ced Carter

    FAMU has a graduation rate of 41%, meaning 41 out of every 100 students graduate in six years (how graduation rates are measured). Only 13% of FAMUANS graduate in four years. FAMU, like her sister HBCUs, will not focus on education for primarily underprepared African American students, but will put all of its resources into less important entities like a band. More than half of the band cannot graduate in six years, and "band" is not a major at FAMU or any of these HBCUs. That's not to say hazing doesn't exist on other TWIs, but this is "hazing" is at the top of the so called "academy." Intelligent Board members, the President, and his cabinet, and so called "responsible academicians,' don't get it. How many more deaths will it take before HBCUs focus on student success and retention? Perhaps, the Governor of Florida is right?

    December 16, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  2. Ellen

    The age-old problem at FAMU and other schools that permit hazing is allowing ANY hazing to go on. What kind of example is any school that allows such a meaningless, violent behavior? Yes, the president is ultimately responsible. If you allow some hazing, then you allow all kinds of hazing, yes, frats and sororities included. It's not a matter of degrees. Penalizing the three who were responsible for this student's death would only seem right if all hazing were forbidden. Everyone looked the other way when perhaps the same degree of hazing happened to a student last week who didn't die. Then it's okay. You allow violence, you allow the consequences.

    St. Petersburg, FL

    December 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  3. Jackie Sawiris

    This is not a black and white issue that impacts only blacks and whites – it's an out-of-control global issue that impacts human beings. Hazing is one of many symptoms that stems from much bigger illnesses that manifests themselves thorough repression, assault, harassment, reality television … and the list goes on. We have, unfortunately, learned to treat our illnesses at the expense of others. I’m not a fan of (quoting) politicians, but I’m right there with Thomas Jefferson who said he was unable to “conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others”. Abusing others to feel better about ourselves is learned behavior. And it can be unlearned and replaced with positive behavior that makes us feel even better about ourselves and our world at large. I was shocked to hear one of your guests say there is no solution to the problem of hazing. Of course there is: treating people with respect, dignity, and kindness needs to be taught and reciprocated. It needs to be taught and reinforced as ferociously as any curriculum. To be accepted – we must accept. To be liked – we must like (and not just with a thumbs up on Facebook). To feel good we must make others feel good. To be at peace we must be peaceful. Adults in positions of power need to take responsibility for institutionalizing this kind of behavior. It takes no more effort to instill this type of behavior in people of all ages than it does to continue to teach the power of aggression and fear and greed. It may sound idealistic, but once we start channeling positive action and reinforcement, once we start doing all we can do to make others feel good instead of harming (and ultimately self-harming on a global scale), corny can become the new cool.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  4. Tj Jefferson

    Your expert was pretty one-sided in his review and I would love to see the statistics to support his allegation that hazing is more physical in black Greek organizations. I think that is opinion rather than fact.

    December 15, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  5. K. Broner

    Hazing takes place at all universities. Not just HBCUs. Please stop making this an 'HBCU," thing as if only black schools have issues with hazing. This is a secret college culture, and not matter what university you attend, some form of hazing exist, whether it is PWIs or HBCUs.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  6. J.D.

    Both the professor and Mr. Martin were correct in their assessment of hazing. Hazing occurs in the middle of the night, in the confines of members houses, or at abandoned warehouses and empty school grounds. And guess what..You can't stop it if you can't prove it. (as most members assume as they participate) Initiates are burdened with the dilemma of being socially accepted by most members and recognized by peers as cool or upending a tradition that has carried out since the org's inception. Stay silent for some months, or permanently destroy an organization, full of many traditions, not just related to hazing. It happens in both black and white organizations, but the current story focuses on how black orgs perpetuate it. Same story could be produced for many white orgs. People want to know how to prevent hazing from happening, and the answer, to me, is either by taking the initiation process out of the undergraduates' hands or by drafting an agreement with strict, enforceable, and long lasting detrimental consequences written in plain language between the university, organization, police, and undergraduate members.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Ced Carter

      It is furtive and clandestine, but it is not coincidence that the dead student's name is CHAMPION. I submit this focus on "hazing" will bring forth new "CHAMPIONS" for human dignity and scholarship on college campuses serious about human life.

      December 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  7. Jan Hunter

    Hazing is a crime, a gang, mob. If any of us were to beat someone with a board(etc.) we would be in jail, so should they. Why are some of the church priest, football coachs, an the colleges above the law? I thought college was to get an education to get a better job have a better future, an be a better person in society, not a secret society (gang, mob,etc.)to learn to beat , hurt, kill an get away with it, like the head of these colleges & coaches & some churches get paid for (millions), ( they just as well be hit men) . Unreal !!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2011 at 1:28 am |