Jackson State University suspended 27 students for two years yesterday as a result of an alleged Sept. 18 hazing incident that resulted in one student with a broken collarbone. WAPT reports that some of the students have already filed appeals.
The incident centered on members of the school's marching band, the Sonic Boom of the South. Of the suspended students, all were current members of the band, except for two former members who still attended the university, Associate Vice President of Student Life Marcus Chanay told WAPT. He added that the school's judiciary committee found the 27 guilty of hazing and moral turpitude.
In addition to being barred from attending JSU, the suspended student will be unable to access their class records to transfer to another school. The WAPT report describes the incident:
Underclassmen, that are part of the band's percussion section, were told by band members to meet at an off-campus location on High Street. The underclassmen were beaten with boards, mallets, pipes, beer bottles and baseball bats, Chanay said. Several of the students were injured and complained of swelling and soreness and one of students suffered a broken collarbone, Chanay said.
(JSU President Ronald) Mason has said that the investigation into the hazing incident has been difficult because the students wouldn't talk about what happened. Chanay said Wednesday that several of the band members admitted that they were very scared to talk about the incident. A number of the students said they had been threatened with severe bodily harm if they spoke to officials, he said. Many of the band members had their parents present while they were being questioned, Chanay said.
"While we are very disappointed this event of hazing took place, we hope the suspension sends a message to all current and future members of the Sonic Boom, as well fraternities and sororities, that hazing is simply unacceptable," Chanay said.
I would be inclined to believe that JSU was actually serious about this being the last time if this was the first time that there had been judicial action taken against a student organization for bodily injury but I have first hand knowledge that its not and it more than likely will not be the last. What people are unwilling to say publicly is that as long as members of faculty, staff and administration continue to allow hazing, condone and sometimes are complicit in it this will never change. The university only takes these things really seriously when it makes the school look bad! And that's real, be mad at me if you want but its the truth! Jackson State should spend more time protecting their student body first instead of protecting themselves from lawsuits later.