Coalition of Black Greeks Launches Anti-Hazing Campaign
A coalition of African Americans who are concerned about recent hazing deaths have launched a campaign to put hazing to an end for good. The death of Drum Major Robert Champion at Florida A&M University has served as cause for alarm, leading them to take a stand on the issue.
“We no longer can treat it as a series of isolated and unrelated sets of unfortunate incidences,” said Jimmy Hammock, president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.
“It’s almost as if someone has tattooed in their brain this is the way to be accepted,” said Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla. Wilson says that her efforts to stop hazing led to her nickname “Haze Buster” when she was regional director for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
The coalition invested $25,000 to start the campaign that will include radio ads on ESPN and print advertising. There is also going to be an August 11 town hall meeting at the Marriott Executive Center in Charlotte, NC. Finally, they are launching Anti-Hazing Day on September 6.
The campaign is in response to the death of Robert Champion at Florida A&M University. Champion, 26, was killed after being hazed on a bus during a trip to a football game. An autopsy showed that he had internal injuries from the hazing. Eleven band members have been charged with felony hazing and the band has been indefinitely suspended.
Wilson is working to draft a bill that says that students caught hazing are going to lose their financial aid. The state is also being asked to enact laws that will make hazing a felony.
Ricky L. Jones, political science professor at the University of Louisville isn’t sure if the anti-hazing measures are going to work.
“I’m worried about preservation of lives of students,” he said. Eliminating organizations where hazing occurs gets rid of a threat to students’ lives, he told USA Today.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority president Cynthia Butler-McIntyre, chair of the National Pan Hellenic Council, an umbrella group of black Greek organizations, said that the battle is going to be difficult because hazing is such a deep part of Greek culture.
“Despite all of our efforts, we have not reached a zero level of hazing, to our great dismay,” Butler-McIntyre’s letter said.
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