Prosecutors opt for hazing charges in FAMU case

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In one ritual, students ran from the front of the bus to the back while other band members slapped, kicked and hit them. A student who fell was stomped and dragged to the front to run again.

In a ritual known as “the hot seat,” a pillowcase was placed over the student’s nose and mouth and he or she was forced to answer questions. If the student gave the correct answer, the pillowcase was removed briefly; a student who supplied a wrong answer was given another question without a chance to take a breath, the lawsuit said.

FAMU president James Ammons and board chairman Solomon Badger said in a joint statement that the school was working “vigorously” to eradicate hazing.

FAMU journalism major Victoria McKnight said she thinks the filing of criminal charges will curtail hazing during initiations into campus groups.

“Students on campus are going to be a lot more wary of what they do to pledges and their intake process,” said McKnight, 22, of Miami. “Everybody is throwing out ideas on how to end hazing, especially this kind of brutal hazing.”

Associated Press writers Suzette Laboy, Christine Armario and Curt Anderson in Miami and Gary Fineout, Brendan Farrington and Brent Kallestad in Tallahassee, Fla., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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