Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Auditor: BOG put students at risk by failing to adopt a strong, statewide anti-hazing regulation

Gov. Rick Scott speaks before the BOG at the University of Central Florida.
The Florida Board of Governors (BOG) has been very loud in criticizing FAMU for the way it has handled the hazing problem on its campus. But the BOG has been rather quiet about the fact that Florida Auditor General David W. Martin recently scolded it for not doing enough to prevent hazing, statewide.

Martin released an operational audit of the BOG on October 16, 2012. His findings criticized the BOG for failing to adopt a detailed regulation that sets specific minimum standards for anti-hazing programs at State University System of Florida (SUS) schools.

According to the audit, the BOG delegated “the responsibility for developing anti-hazing policies, penalties, and enforcements” to individual boards of trustees. The audit pointed out how this BOG decision has led to inconsistent anti-hazing policies across the SUS.

Martin said the BOG became well aware of this problem due to results of one of its own SUS surveys. The survey showed that: “5 of the 11 universities did not have a 24 hour/7 day a week reporting system in place to report hazing incidents. In addition, 5 of 11 of the universities did not have an anti-hazing educational program for student organizations and 9 of the 11 universities did not have hazing prevention strategies in place that included professional staff development or training.”

The BOG’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee recommended that the full board take action to establish a statewide minimum standard regarding hazing prevention. But by the end of the time period covered by the audit, the BOG had failed to accomplish this.

“As of June 30, 2012, the BOG had taken no formal action to implement the Committee’s recommendations and had not developed a regulation to provide guidance regarding anti-hazing policies, penalties, and enforcement to the universities,” Martin wrote.

Martin said that the lack of a statewide anti-hazing regulation increases the possibility that the SUS hazing problem will become even worse.

“In the absence of a BOG regulation providing specific guidance and oversight for potential hazing activities at universities, there is an increased risk that future hazing events will occur and not be timely detected and investigated,” Martin wrote.

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