The death of Florida A&M Drum Major Robert Champion has reignited the age-old discussion surrounding hazing and initiation practices amongst college students. Last week, three members of the FAMU band were charged with hazing and the university continues to be swallowed in controversy with new allegations that of financial mismanagement. Today the Governor of Florida Rick Scott called for the president of the university, James Ammons, to be suspended.
As a Spelman College Alumna, I have witnessed first hand the culture of hazing. Life at an HBCU is rich in history and tradition, both good and bad. Though many students publicly decry hazing, countless students willingly participate in, and perpetuate hazing practices; the issue is indeed complex. As the conversation continues to build, we asked our HelloBeautiful HBCU Ambassadors to sound off on how they feel about hazing in 2011. Check out their responses below.
“I am sad because a mother has lost a son, the Marching 100 has lost a prominent member and Florida A&M has lost a rattler. Then I am angry because of how people are treating the situation. We all want to give our opinions and inputs but at the end of the day a person has lost a life. Then I’m embarrassed because the school I represent and love so much is getting all this attention and not in a positive way. So the question I ask is when is enough; enough.” – Jonesa Rodriguez, Florida A&M University ’13
“The connotations today of hazing are awful, but it does have its benefits and it is supposed to be fun! It is the bonding of sisters and brothers who go through it together. There is no way to totally do away with hazing, but all university students should feel a certain level of security that they are not subject to criminal acts for wanting to be involved an organization.” – Sarafina Wright, Howard University ’15
“Whether it is bullying, degrading, demeaning, verbal, mental, physical or sexual abuse it is ALL wrong and needs to stop. This street code of “Stop Snitching” needs to be changed to “Stop Hazing” period!” – Wannette R. Stevens-Fripp, Winston Salem State University ’13
“Many students that have been hazed sometimes never express or talk about it until something tragic happens. No one should wait until there’s a problem occurring to report that some thing is wrong. There have been many horrific stories about hazing, and yet nothing major has been done to crack down on this illegal act. Have not enough students died and have been traumatized enough to say this is the time to stop? – Lovely Robinson, Bennett College ’14
“I believe that the tasks are tradition and they keep you grounded. You will forever have a bond between yourself and other hazed members, due to your shared experience. It stops people who want to join for the wrong reasons from joining. Many times it makes candidates stronger mentally. If you can submit yourself and work towards a goal now then it shouldn’t be as difficult later in life. However I do believe there is a limit to hazing and I do believe that there should be a meaningful end result to it. If hazing becomes detrimental to the health and well being of candidates I believe it is unnecessary and it becomes gang mentality instead of a challenge that you can overcome.” – Cydney Murray, Texas Southern University ’15
“Hazing fails as an evaluation tool. Its climate captures, at best, personality extremes rather than painting a complete picture. It adds useless rigor; despite demonstrations of strength and cunning, the practice often does not illuminate ideals of the organization or talents of its members. To uphold esteem and attract candidates, rigor needs to be redefined.” – Anaia Peddie, Spelman College ’12
What do you think, does hazing have a purpose?
Also On HelloBeautiful:
Celebs Tweet Their Thoughts About #JusticeForSandraBland
1. Jesse Williams
#SandraBland's treatment while attempting to travel freely on HER public roadways has been acknowledged as unlawful. She is already dead.
2. Taraji P. Henson
"SAY HER NAME #SandraBland"
3. Ava DuVernay
"'Why are you arresting me?' Because you know your rights. Because I can. Because no one'll believe you. #SandraBland"
4. Kim Kardashian
#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth!
5. Jussie Smollet
"A loss 4 words. #SandraBlandMatters #BlackLivesMatter 👈🏿tell me this should change once the nation shows that we do. "
6. Snoop Dogg
🙏🌹. Sandra. Rip. 🌹🌹
7. K. Michelle
R.I.P to this queen. This could've been any of us. My prayers go out to her family. #sandrabland https://instagram.com/p/5fvlO_AhCf/
8. Gabrielle Union
SAY HER NAME!!! #SandraBland #SandraBland #SandraBland #SayHerName
"We must get to the cause of #sandrabland death because this CANNOT happen again #deathorfreedom"
10. David Banner
"When will we fight back. A man's duty on earth is to protect women and children. Where are the gangsters? Preachers? We need you. Please."
11. Nicki Minaj
"Rest In Peace #SandraBland"
12. Talib Kweli
"We the people ask @LorettaLynch to investigate #SandraBland #KimberleeRandleKing RETWEET "
Signs. Signs. Signs all around us. The Message is Here. #SandraBland
14. Missy Elliot
"When I look at the #SandraBland traffic video it brings so many emotions😳😢😡😡😤!"
15. Jessie J
"God bless your soul Sandra | #sandrabland | Change needs to come |Justice needs to be served | Heart… https://instagram.com/p/5fV79mQ0aw/ "
16. Jackee Harry
"It's time y'all, it's time.." #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
"In memory of #SandraBland these things don't make no kinda sense "
18. Holly Robinson Peete
I really don't look forward to having ANOTHER difficult conversation w my kids tonight...but here we go again😧💔 #SandraBland #SayHerName 😢
19. Jeffrey White
Sadly, doesn't matter by whose hand she died. Unjustified arrested set the outcome in motion. The state murdered her. #JusticeForSandraBland
Sandra could have been your mother, sister, aunt, friend or if she wasn't killed the community outreach advisor A&M. #SandraBland
21. Joan Smalls
"My heart is broken. Sending my deepest condolence to her family and friends. May you find Strength, Peace and Justice. When will this stop? #EqualityForAll #RIP #Why #SayHerName
22. Gladys Knight
Sandra Bland.... #SayHerName #SandraBland
23. Cara Delevigne
Things need to change NOW #SANDRABLAND #Justice #Equality
24. Meek Mill
"Rip to that young lady that lost her life about a traffic stop! 🙏 ima make sure I pray for her and her family! 🙏😄😄😄"