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Not one year after the hazing death of a Florida A&M University (FAMU) marching band member, there's another alleged hazing incident -- this time involving a FAMU dance team.
A parent tipped off the university about the alleged hazing involving the all-female Torque Dance Team, reports CNN. The hazing reportedly happened at an off-campus event over Labor Day weekend. It allegedly involved alcohol consumption and running up hills. It's not clear if anyone was hurt.
FAMU was quick to take action and suspended the dance team pending an investigation. Final action against the team is likely to follow the investigation. There is no word yet on criminal charges.
The FAMU dance team hazing allegations are making national news because it's been only a few short months since the tragic hazing death of Robert Champion. The 26-year-old drum major was involved in a hazing ritual in which he ran up and down the aisle of a bus while being pummeled by his peers. Champion died from the injuries he suffered in the incident.
Champion's death was ruled a homicide, and 14 people now face charges related to his death, reports CNN.
The FAMU band hazing and alleged dance team hazing should serve as a reminder to all schools to be on the lookout for hazing rituals. Contrary to popular belief, hazing is not the exclusive realm of macho activities like football and frats, but can occur in any group activity.
Not only is hazing dangerous, it is also illegal in many states. For example, Florida makes it a potential felony to endanger anyone's mental or physical health for purposes of initiation or admission into an organization. Specific activities considered as hazing include, but are not limited to, whipping, branding, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food or liquor, sleep deprivation, and conduct that could result in extreme embarrassment.
Florida's law also states that a hazing victim's consent is no defense to criminal charges of hazing.
Whether FAMU has a hazing problem, or if the university is just particularly sensitive to potential acts of hazing, remains to be seen. Still, the FAMU dance team hazing allegations should be a wake-up call for other student groups to be on their best behavior regarding their pledges and new members.