[Bryan's Rant] Hazardous Hazing | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Bryan's Rant] Hazardous Hazing

When people think of hazing in college, I am guessing that the Greek system comes to mind for most. The press has written and talked about sorority and fraternity hazing for a while now, although colleges and universities have tried hard to end hazing in the Greek system.

I am sure some people also think about sports when hazing comes to mind. Coaches and universities have done everything possible to ban hazing in sports. Not only is hazing embarrassing, a dumb hazing prank can injure players or end their playing careers.

How many people would think about hazing and college bands?

Controversy and turmoil have engulfed Florida A&M University's Marching 100 band since the Nov. 19 death of Robert Chapman. A 26-year-old drum major, Chapman was found dead on the team bus after performing in Orlando.

In mid-December, officials said Chapman died from internal bleeding suffered from blunt force trauma. The Florida medical examiner's office has ruled Chapman's death a homicide. No one has been arrested, yet; police are still investigating.

Since Chapman's death, Florida A&M suspended all band practices and performances, and fired long-time band director Julian White as well.

Then, on Dec. 12, Tallahassee police arrested three band members for beating a female member so severely that they broke her thigh. The three allegedly beat Bria Shante Hunter from Decatur, Ga., with fists and a metal ruler to initiate her into the "Red Dawg Order," a clique for band members from Georgia.

This is not the first time hazing has happened in bands. In 2009, Jackson State suspended 27 band members after accusations of hazing. Florida A&M has had other instances of hazing and so has Southern University. From everything I have read, it seems hazing is a big part of historically black colleges and universities, but I am sure HBCUs don't have the only bands involved in hazing.

No matter if it is the Greek system, sports, bands or any other group, hazing is dangerous and stupid. Pro football is weeding out hazing. Coaches don't want players hurt over brainless stunts.

Maybe the Florida A&M tragedy will help end hazing on college campuses and show how dangerous hazing can be. I can always hope change comesfrom a bad event.

It all starts from the top. University officials must change the culture in any group or organization suspected of hazing.

Follow Bryan Flynn at http://www.jfpsports.com, Facebook and @jfpsports.

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