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FAMU Suspends Another Student Group Over Hazing Allegation

A student crosses the campus of Florida A&M University.
Mark Foley
A student crosses the campus of Florida A&M University.

Florida A&M University, which is dealing with the deadly effects of hazing, has suspended another student group over new allegations of cruel treatment. In a statement released to member station WFSU, the university says the Torque Dance Team has been suspended immediately after a hazing incident reportedly occurred off campus last weekend.

Interim university president Larry Robinson says a parent alerted administrators Tuesday afternoon about the alleged incident involving the dance club and he quickly "shut the organization down pending the outcome of an investigation...We have zero tolerance for hazing....It is unconscionable that a student organization would participate in any hazing activity considering what has transpired in the last year."

FAMU is coping with the hazing death of student Robert Champion, a drum major for the university's renowned Marching 100 Band. He died last November following a brutal beating aboard a band bus. As Eyder wrote, the medical examiner determined Champion died of 'hemorrhagic shock caused by blunt-force trauma'.

Thirteen students face felony charges connected to Champion's death. In addition, there are separate cases of hazing against other band students, including one of a woman allegedly beaten by male bandmates.

Since then, FAMU says it has instituted stricter rules for university clubs that include anti-hazing workshops and increased community service. The policies won't apply to the Marching 100 band, which remains suspended for the 2012-2013 school year.

The Torque Dance Club will not be allowed to meet either until the investigation is finished. The dance club was inactive last year, because it lacked a university sponsor, according to the student newspaper, the Famuan. The university says the campus police chief, dean of students and director of student activities were told of the alleged incident.

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Korva Coleman is a newscaster for NPR.

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