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    Crisis presentation2 Crisis presentation2 Presentation Transcript

    • Florida A&M Crisis Analysis Presentation By: Brigid Malone
    • Background• Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University commonly known as Florida A&M or FAMU is the nation’s largest historically black university by enrollment• Located in Tallahassee, the capital of Florida• The FAMU band, “Marching 100,” was titled “Best Marching Band in the Nation” by Sports Illustrated• The band has performed at two presidential inauguration parades
    • Crisis in the FAMU band• November 19, 2011 a drum major was found unconscious by paramedics aboard a bus outside a hotel in Orlando, where FAMU had just played in a rival game• Robert Champion, 26, was beaten severely with drumsticks and bass-drum mallets by fellow band members in a hazing ritual called “Crossing Bus C”• During the ritual a band member has to walk backward down the aisle of a bus while other band members beat on him until he reaches halfway down the aisle and gets the “Hot Seat” which is when the members sit him down, put a blanket over him and continue to beat him
    • Crisis Continued• Champion’s family has filed a law suit against the university for wrongful death and against the bus company, Fabulous Coach Lines• Thirteen band members have been charged in relation to Champion’s death, all have pleaded not guilty• Eleven face felony hazing charges and could face up to six years in prison• Mom said Robert was targeted because of his sexual orientation and even more for his anti-hazing stance
    • Organization’s Initial Reaction• No word from the university for almost two months until the dean of students, Henry Kirby’s notes from a meeting to discuss the band’s hazing were published• Kirby made a statement that he and the chief of police at the university made the recommendation to suspend the band from playing at the “Classic” but the band director Julian White “squashed” the suggestion• Then White denied the comment and says that no one present at the meeting had the power to suspend the band so instead they had a discussion with the band to remind them of the anti-hazing agreement• For the longest time, FAMU officials denied any statement regarding the meeting on November 16
    • Organization’s Response• When the organization finally agreed to communicate with media, they denied any and all responsibility for the death of Champion• “Champion broke the law and school policies when he willingly took part in hazing that left him dead.”• The administrators reacted in a guilty manner, with a lot of “he-said, she- said” behavior that seemed like a cover-up• FAMU has put in place a three-part hazing plan for all students – New anti-hazing website StopHazingatFAMU.com requires students to make a pledge to anti-hazing• Suspended all band activities• Created an independent panel of experts to investigate hazing allegations• Two new jobs: special assistant to the president on hazing and a music compliance officer• Resignation of the president of the university, James H. Ammons• Band director, Julian White was forced to resign
    • Media Response• Story spread like wild-fire across the nation, result of hazing epidemic at universities today• News articles are all very one-sided, not “objective”• Huffington Post and USA Today both have sections that are dedicated to the story and constantly updated• Lots of tweeted articles and opinions of readers• Google News: 80 relevant articles• YouTube: 118 relevant videos (memorial videos and news stories)• Katie Couric had Champion’s parents on her TV show, “Katie”• Pamela went on Michel Martin’s NPR show “Tell Me More”
    • Stakeholders Response• Media influences the opinion of stakeholders and with social media these stakeholders can now publish their opinion and be part of the conversation• Very upset and critical of Florida A&M and it’s response• On average, there are over 80 comments below each article• Lots of blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, and YouTube videos sharing opinions• Huffington Post encourages readers to share opinions in the forums on the Robert Champion section• Two-thirds of opinions read were negative and believe FAMU should take a level of responsibility or at least show concern for students• Lots of angry responses from students of FAMU & other universities saying the hazing could have been prevented had administrators listened to the police and suspended the band
    • The Champions• Most important stakeholders are Champion’s parents• They are very active in the media and communicate openly and as a result the media has favored them• Mrs. Champion has started an anonymous hotline for students who are victims of or are involved in hazing to call and receive help• Created a Facebook page, “Drum Major for Change! Robert D. Champion” – This gives people an outlet to share stories and leave comments & pictures – Over 1400 “likes”
    • Recommendations• Respond to media and stakeholders in a quick and informative manner, sharing all known details related to the matter• Recognize when responsibility should be taken and apologies need to be made• Employees should not speak on their own behalf, organization should have a single opinion and as a result will not look like they are covering up or guilty in any way• Do not deny statements that have been made that are true (November 16 meeting)
    • In the future• FAMU should have a grad student or person of authority infiltrate band at all times, like an RA system to monitor behavior• A more secure way of teaching students anti-hazing policy – Pledge should be made after a 10 question quiz on the policy to make certain the students have retained the correct information – This leaves no room for excuses of not knowing the policy & consequences• Police should be involved in all hazing incidents and punishments should include classroom education program