Monday, December 31, 2012

BOG report fails to specify any state laws FAMU’s anti-hazing program allegedly violated

Last week, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) released a preliminary report from an investigation that it launched in response to public allegations that ex-Marching 100 Director Julian White made against FAMU’s senior administration. The probe was later expanded to include a broader review of FAMU’s anti-hazing program.

BOG Inspector General Derry Harper opened the report with a claim that FAMU’s anti-hazing program did not comply with “applicable state law” in 2011.

"Based upon our Preliminary and Tentative Report of Investigation, we conclude that FAMU failed to implement an anti-hazing program that complied with Board of Governors regulations, University regulations or applicable state law due to a lack of effective institutional and internal controls designed to prevent, detect, deter, and discipline students involved in hazing," Harper wrote.

This led to an Associated Press story that began with the line: "The findings from a year-long investigation show that Florida A&M University officials failed to follow state laws and regulations regarding hazing."

The only problem is that Harper’s report fails to specify any state laws that FAMU’s anti-hazing program allegedly failed to observe.

Harper made three references to specific sections of the Florida Statutes in his report. He did not follow up with any allegations that FAMU was out of compliance with them.

They are as follows:

Florida’s Anti-Hazing Statute

"Section 1006.63, Florida Statutes, defines hazing as a third degree felony or a first degree misdemeanor, and requires universities to provide their policy, rules, and penalties to each student enrolled and include the bylaws of every sanctioned organization." (Page 18)

Harper’s own report confirms that "the version of FAMU’s Anti-Hazing Regulation 2.028 in place during 2011 defines hazing, lists penalties, and requires sanctioned university organizations to include an anti-hazing section in their bylaws."

Additionally, Harper’s report did not accuse FAMU of failing to make sure that enrolled students received Anti-Hazing Regulation 2.208.

Public University Police Statute

"The powers, duties and responsibilities regarding University Police are set forth in section 1012.97, Florida Statutes." (Page 22)

"FAMU Department of Public Safety investigations are governed by General Order 4, Chapter 9, section 1012.97, Florida Statutes, University Police and Mutual Aid Agreements between the FAMU Police Department, the Tallahassee Police Department, and Leon County Sheriff’s Office." (Page 23)

Harper’s report doesn’t specify any portions of Florida Statute 1012.97 that FAMU allegedly violated.

The BOG inspector general’s report is still preliminary. Maybe the final report will specify which, if any, Florida Statues that FAMU’s anti-hazing program allegedly violated. The preliminary report doesn’t explain how FAMU’s anti-hazing program allegedly failed to comply with any state laws.

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