• Home
  • Opinion
  • Lifestyle
  • Weather
  • Nature Calendar
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Florida Tales
  • You And The Law
  • Contact Us
  • Classifieds
  • Recent TTN News Content

     • The down and out: tales of people trapped in a storm that wrought havoc in Florida - The down-and-out victims of Hurricane Irma come from various walks of life, and many of them are in Florida's prison system. This is their story....
     • Hurricane is coming, batten down the hatches - Preparations are essential as storm approaches the Tallahassee area ...
     • Out for repair - Off for repairs ...
     • UF will not allow white supremacist to speak on campus - The University of Florida has said that the likelihood of violence has caused it to take action to oppose permission for a white academic nationalist to speak on campus. ...
     • OL Samuels dies; creative folk artist won state, national acclaim, family asks for help for expenses - O.L. Samuels, 85, was a boxer, bounty hunter, singer, arborist, minister and acclaimed folk artist whose unique carvings were recognized by the public, art collectors and museums including the Smithsonian. ...
     • A free life is a miracle for Calvin Thomas after he serves 57 years of a death sentence - It is no small miracle that Thomas is alive. His death warrant was signed in the 1960's. He was moved to "The Ready Room" next to the electric chair as preparations were made for his execution. The courts granted a stay of execution hours before he was scheduled to be put to death. Now, he will enjoy a new life, out of prison. ...
     • Aaron Hernandez left a message of eternal life as he willfully took his own life in prison - Aaron Hernandez was a gifted athlete who led a troubled life. But his suicide caught friends and family by surprise, a week after an quital in court on another case. ...
     • Frosty the Snowman provided a chilly break from Florida’s warmer winter weather - Visiting up North was an experience that a Floridian could enjoy, but coming home to warmer weather makes one appreciate Florida. ...
     • Women prisoners count their blessings on a tearful Thanksgiving at Lowell Prison - Visits on Thanksgiving were all too short at Lowell Prison where children were asking "Why can't I stay with Mommy?" Columnist Jack Strickland visits at Lowell and writes a riveting story about the emotions of the day as families got together all too briefly. He came away with both a feeling of sadness and of joy. ...
     • “Souls to the Polls” march re-enacts history to inspire students at FAMU to vote in the election - FAMU students recreated history on Sunday with a march to the polls to demonstrate the importance of voting and to inspire students to vote in the national election. ...
     • Florida women’s prison is nightmare as prisoners endure humiliation, poor medical care, rip-offs - Florida's major prison for women is an endless nightmare for those who have to endure the permanent psychological scarring that results from little privacy, no meaningful rehabilitation, general neglect of medical care by the prisons, and the rip-off of high prices for phone calls and items supplied by private contractors. ...
     • Question is whether Adelson family was involved in Markel murder, and motives of the suspects - Questions remain unanswered about release of evidence and possible motives for murder - were suspects trying to extort money from Adelsons? ...
     • Small explosion causes chaos at Florida A&M University - An explosion at the FAMU campus Thursday was actually a dishwasher catching fire. However it did cause a scare among faculty, staff and students at the Presidential Dining Hall. ...
     • In a surprise appearance, Shaq has a ball inspiring neighborhood kids to dream big - A surprise visit by the former star basketball player to Gainesville and the police department brought out good feelings all around as kids got to play with superstar. ...
     • ‘Cash register justice’ for the poor means no justice for many in Florida courts - Prosecutors now seek to extract fees from indigent defendents to help pay office costs, causing possible miscarriage of justice, says national justice center. ...

    Lowest Gas Prices in Tallahassee
    Tallahassee - Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com
    CNN National Headlines
    » California's Thomas Fire keeps burning
    » California residents decorate their burned homes
    » Mom and son scramble 4 times to stay out of fire's path
    » The wildfires by the numbers
    » These states could be the next Alabama
    » Michigan voters: Blame Congress, not Trump
    » Surprise inspections find 'significant issues' in treatment of ICE detainees
    » Paul Ryan 'soul searching,' possible he could leave Congress after 2018 elections
    » The Senate is now very much in play in 2018
    » Cruise control designs could solve traffic jams
    NPR National Headlines
    » Leading Bump Stock Manufacturer To Resume Sales Tuesday
    » Lawyer For Rand Paul's Neighbor Says 'Trivial' Dispute Led To Assault
    » Trump: Curbs On Gun Sales Would Make 'No Difference' In Texas Shooting
    » Maine Voters Will Decide If They Want More Access To Medicaid
    » Voters Confused By Ohio's Ballot Question On Drug Prices
    » Trump's 2016 Victory Speech, Annotated 1 Year Later
    » What To Watch In Tuesday's Elections Across The Country
    » In Texas And Beyond, Mass Shootings Have Roots In Domestic Violence
    » Man Who Exchanged Fire With Texas Shooter: 'I Was Scared To Death'
    » In Visit To South Korea, Trump Continues Theme Of Security And Trade
    CNN World Headlines

    Local and State News...

    Experts convene town meeting on hazing at FAMU, but a third of students say they will not report it

    September 20, 2012
    By: Michael Abrams

    A panel of experts gave their best on Thursday as several thousand FAMU students filled the gymnasium for a mandatory “Town Hall” session on hazing.

    When it was all over, students were asked “how likely are you to self-report hazing if you witness it happening?”

    A third of the students who were polled at the meeting still say they won’t report hazing if they see it.

    While no reasons were given in the poll of about 300 students who used electronic clickers, some students have said that they feel the anti-hazing program is put on for the public show rather than for FAMU students, and many apparently didn’t show up, as required, in the Al Lawson gym which has the capacity for about 9,000. FAMU has about 11,000 students. 

    Series of events

    This is the first in a series of events including anti-hazing pledge signings on “the set” (central campus area) on Friday Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.,  an “anti-hazing jam” that night 8 -12 at the Gaither Gym, a community day on Saturday 11 a.m. -3 p.m. at the track with free refreshments, a “Rattlers Pray Out Hazing”  meeting on Sunday at 11 a.m . in the Grand Ballroom, a legal discussion Monday Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. in the ballroom,  a “Meet the Greeks” session Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Gaither Gym and a seminar on Wednesday, Sept. 26, “Rattlers Strike out Hazing” with speaker Gina Lee Olukoya at the Gaither Gym at 6:30-9 p.m.

    As the university lawyers negotiate to place an acceptable price on the life of Robert Champion, the 26-year-old drum major whose hazing death resulted in the suspension of the university’s famous marching band, students and some faculty gathered to hear the university’s latest attempt to push hazing into the past.

    National experts sat on the panel that was covered by local television and various newspapers. Perhaps the best received speech was that of Na’im Akbar, a Tallahassee clinical psychologist and past president of the National Association of Black Psychologists.

    ‘Self-love leads to self-respect’

    Saying he was not an expert on hazing, Akbar said he has spent 35 years “trying to understand how black people function the way that we do.”  He said he didn’t intend to call hazing a black thing. But he said that “our craziness is a consequence of our unique experiences that have driven us crazy – we spent most of our time in the western world as captives, not as free members of society. . . “

    He said blacks, as a result of slavery, have a perverse concept of power – “we don’t know what real power is” and therefore “we do crazy things to try to prove our power and demonstrate that we are powerful.”

    Along with a strong need for acceptance, created by the plantation, he said, blacks believe they are “not as good as other people.”

    Others, who have experienced bondage react in different ways, such as with the idea of “never again,” he said.

    “We must formulate an affirmation of healing ourselves,” he said. “Self-knowledge leads to self-love leads to self-respect. If you know who you are, you will love who you are,” he said.

    Story of ‘wasted potential’

    Elizabeth Allen, a professor of higher education at the University of Maine who has researched social climates on campuses, told the audience that hazing is a story of wasted potential. She has seen students sprayed with oven cleaner, with kidneys damaged, with alcohol intoxication. She said she has heard “hundreds if not thousands of stories.”

    She said that anyone who believes that something good can come out of hazing must ask “at what cost?”  Many students do see the potential for harm, but they fail to stop the hazing. Hazing is widespread in U.S. colleges and in recreational programs, intramural sports and even honor societies. “We need to find our way out.”

    The way out is to recognize the longterm goals, even in hazing, that are positive, and the challenge is to accomplish admirable aims without hazing.

    ‘Much larger than FAMU’

    Attorney Rasheed-Ali Cromwell, executive director of the Harbor Institute which deals with fraternity and sorority life on campuses, said that hazing is “much larger than FAMU” and the responsibility is “not glamorizing” it.

    Actions should be consistent with the motives, if you are talking about brotherhood and community service, he said.  He mentioned Morehouse College which changed its pledge process for fraternities to an “intake” process.  But not everyone buys into new processes. He mentioned the story of slaves in Texas who did not know they were free for a year, and acted as slaves until someone told them.  Everyone was on different pages, he said.

    “We operate in a paradigm of oxymorons – a recipe for catastrophe,”  he said. “We are left with a need for validation.”

    Victor Gaines, president of the Marching 100 Alumni Band Association, a former drum major, said that he wants to be one of the first people on the field when the Marching 100 returns.  He said the death of Robert Champion “made me wonder if there was something I could have done to prevent it.”  Hazing is a matter of self-esteem, he said. If you subject yourself to hazing, that shows low self esteem. Hazers “are also struggling with their own self-esteem.”

    “A momentary lapse in judgment can be catastrophic.”

    A “three prong approach” would put policies in place at an administrative level, have students decide that they will not subject themselves to hazing, and put alumni, stakeholders and neighbors on a kind of “neighborhood watch.”

    ‘Equal opportunity disgrace’

    Hank Nuwer, a hazing researcher with four books on hazing and journalism teacher at Franklin College in Indiana, said that some may feel that FAMU has become target practice on a firing range. But it is widespread, even on major sports teams, he said.

    “It’s an equal opportunity disgrace,” he said, quoting himself. The first hazing death was in 1873 at Cornell University.  Eighty percent of hazing deaths involve alcohol.  Students have a desire for approval. They can have their throat slit or be buried alive. Even Martin Luther, the great theologian, was in favor of hazing.

    Many people don’t report it for fear of retribution, said Nuwer. Students at FAMU can contribute much to research, he said. He founded a hazing library at Buffalo State College in New York State.  He emphasized to FAMU students “you are not alone” and mentioned a string of colleges with hazing problems. Even the night before he had gotten a call about a student who had drowned in Idaho, he said.

    He also said he would like to point a finger at the owners of the professional football team, the New York Giants, who excused hazing by saying “boys will be boys.”

    “Wake up major leagues, wake up football, wake up baseball, wake up hockey!”

    Also speaking was Merissa West, president of the FAMU Student Government Association, and moderating was James Bland, former FAMU SGA vice-president and wirter and director of the feature film “Dreaming in Color.”

    Pledging to end hazing were representatives of student organizations and representatives of the marching band, whose president, Brandon Cunningham,  gave a short speech, introducing band members and telling everyone “before you are a member of your organization you are a member of FAMU.”