Florida marching band percussionist Brian Jones was sentenced to six months community control, two years of probation, and 200 hours of community service on Monday for his participation in the hazing death of Robert Champion.
On Nov. 19, 2011, Jones and 12 other members of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Marching 100 band participated in hazing Champion in a charter bus after a game in Orlando, Fla. Jones and the other band members allegedly punched, kicked and hit Champion as he ran down the aisle of the bus. The severe and fatal blows killed Champion that night.
Fifty percent of college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations experience hazing, according to hazingprevention.org. From Greek life to academic clubs, it is no secret that hazing occurs on many college campuses including CSU East Bay. With the start of the new school year, many students are rushing and pledging for fraternities, sororities and clubs. Hazing is at its peak during this time.
We at The Pioneer believe students need to advocate against hazing and help themselves as well as other students stop the abusive trend in these clubs. We believe it is a degrading and horrendous act that should never happen at an institution where knowledge is promoted.
According to the CSUEB website, “Any student of a campus may be expelled, suspended, placed on probation, or given a lesser sanction for violations of the code, which occur on University premises, or at off-campus functions or programs sponsored by the University.” These sanctions are taught to clubs at their training for club recognition and renewal.
Administrators of student life at CSUEB, along with other universities and colleges, need to reach out to students to find out which clubs are doing the hazing and to what degree. Likewise, students that are against hazing like Champion need to let their administrators know the trouble these clubs are causing.
Thirty-six percent of students say they would not report hazing primarily because “there’s no one to tell,” and 27 percent feel that adults won’t handle it right, revealed hazingprevention.org.
“It’s made very clear in those presentations, as well as more specifically for of the all the greek letter organizations clarifying what hazing is and making sure that it is not a gray area. It is not like there is acceptable hazing,” said Associated Vice President Stan Herbert.
“There is no one prescriptive sanction. It’s not like in a criminal case where there is a particular punishment for every club, but the sanctions as in the executive order would range from anything from judicial probation all the way to expulsion of the university and expulsion of the university is expulsion from the California state university not just our campus.”
Although clubs and organizations are warned about the punishments of hazing, it is up to the students to stand up against hazing. Champion was known to be actively against participating or undergoing hazing. Yet, he fell to the pressure of his fellow students.
The pressure of becoming part of the brotherhood and sisterhood of the organization is what drives students to undergo hazing by their peers. Just like in the case of Jones, students performing the hazing are not deliberately trying to kill someone. However, much of the thrill that comes from hazing is the fact that these are dangerous tasks.
Had students actively searched for help in stopping the hazing at FAMU and had administrators done something to protect the students, Champion could still be alive today.
With a sentencing so lenient for Jones, what is to stop these students from hazing not only at FAMU but in any other school. Students need to tackle the act of hazing together and prevent crimes like the murder of Champion.
We urge CSUEB students to be a role model for schools in taking preventative measures.
We implore to our classmates to be better than hazing. If you have suffered hazing, speak out and tell someone at school who you can trust. Your voice could help others come out and save others from experiencing the same pain.
We hope students will understand that they do not have to join a club or organization that performs hazing. There is no need to be a part of a group that practices something so morally inferior while at college, or ever.
CSUEB, be better than hazing, and take a stand for what is correct.
This entry was published in The Pioneer Online on Thursday, October 25th, 2012 at 2:26 pm.