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Florida A&M suspends all-female dance team after alleged hazing

September 05, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • Robert Champion performs with the Florida A&M Marching 100 band at halftime of a football game on Nov. 19, 2011. His death hours later in a hazing incident led to a tougher policy on hazing at the school. On Tuesday, a FAMU dance group was suspended pending an investigation of a hazing incident over the Labor Day weekend.
Robert Champion performs with the Florida A&M Marching 100 band at… (Joseph Brown III / Tampa…)

Still dealing with the aftermath of a hazing scandal involving its prestigious marching band, Florida A&M University has found itself involved in another hazing-related controversy, this time involving the Torque Dance Team.

The university received an anonymous report from a parent that the all-female dance group had engaged in off-campus hazing activities over the Labor Day weekend, the school said in a statement. The incident allegedly involved alcohol consumption and running up hills, but the school gave no other details.

Interim President Larry Robinson on Tuesday suspended the group, one of several dance clubs on campus, citing the university’s policy of zero-tolerance of hazing. The school's stance on hazing has been under intense scrutiny since the death last November of drum major Robert Campion during a hazing incident he participated in as a member of the school’s famed Marching 100 band. Twelve band members face felony charges and two others misdemeanor counts in connection with the death.

“The university takes very seriously any allegation of hazing and has moved quickly to shut the organization down pending the outcome of an investigation,” Robinson said in his statement. “We have zero tolerance for hazing. It’s deplorable and will not be tolerated. It is unconscionable that a student organization would participate in any hazing activity considering what has transpired in the past year.”

According to the school, the dance club has been inactive since December 2011 because it lacked an advisor. Until the hazing investigation is resolved, a new advisor will not be appointed.

The Marching 100, known for its flashy march and dance moves, performed at football games and has long been in demand for apperances at outside events, including a presidential inauguration. Champion died in a bus parked outside an Orlando, Fla., hotel following a football game; the band has been suspended for at least this season.

Robinson took over the school’s helm after the previous president was forced to resign in the wake of the death.

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michael.muskal@latimes.com

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