Florida university suspends dance group over hazing allegations

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 04, 2012 7:46 PM

By Michael Peltier

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) - Florida A&M University, shaken by the hazing death of a marching band drum major last year, suspended a student dance group on Tuesday after receiving a tip that members were involved in an off-campus hazing incident over the weekend.

Interim President Larry Robinson ordered the suspension of the Torque Dance Team until an investigation could be completed. The move follows tightened scrutiny of alleged hazing activities following the November death of Robert Champion.

"We have zero tolerance for hazing," Robinson said, adding the suspension followed an anonymous tip from a parent. "It is unconscionable that a student organization would participate in any hazing activity considering what has transpired in the past year."

Champion, 26, died on a band charter bus after the university's renowned "Marching 100" band traveled from its Tallahassee campus to Orlando to participate in the annual "Battle of the Bands" and the "Florida Classic" football game between two historically black universities.

Officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement determined he died due to a brutal hazing incident in which he was subjected to a ritualistic beating. Thirteen band members have been charged in connection with Champion's death.

Florida A&M suspended new membership in all clubs and organizations this year.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Stacey Joyce)