The Washington Post

FAMU Editor-in-Chief talks hazing

Editor-in-Chief of The Famuan newspaper at Florida A&M University wrote an opinion piece addressing the hazing situation that led to the death of band member Robert Champion at the university. It was originally printed in The Famuan.

Robert Champion, the drum major in Florida A&M University's Marching 100 band died in November in a possible hazing incident. (Joseph Brown III/AP)

 I never understood how much power the press can hold, and what a grave responsibility that is, but FAMU taught me the lesson very quickly.

Since day one, this paper has seen and covered stories about murder, corruption, discrimination, university and departmental in fighting, theft, disease, lawsuits, accreditation, enrollment and, of course, hazing.

Since day one, we've covered student love, college relationships, religion, student enterprise, student and alumni triumphs and wins, food, lace-fronts, grants, scholarships and the ever-late net check. And, as a result, since day one, this paper has outraged students, faculty, staff, administrators and organizations on campus.

And I couldn't be prouder.

This semester, The Famuan took chances, made mistakes, reported news no one else would admit was happening and didn't want to admit was happening. This paper grew up, and I grew up with it.

So I will say one thing, and one thing only to every single allegation of libel, falsification of documents, defamation of character and even violation of federal laws thrown at The Famuan lately: The truth needs no defense, and blind ignorance needs no facts.

The Famuan will continue to publish the negative content our readers and we have come to cherish as unbiased, uncensored truth, despite what was otherwise expressed by SGA and the administration in Monday's anti-hazing forum and Senate meeting.

Deliberately targeting a news outlet to shut it down because you "disagree" with true, accurate content isn't going to make FAMU look better or suddenly salvage what's left of our tarnished reputation. The Famuan will not close our eyes and pretend FAMU lies in the middle of an orange and green field of lilies where everyone holds hands and sings the alma mater.

So, to the SGA members reading this column now and shaking their heads: get out from behind your desks and cut the funding of the supposed "Fabloid," if what we're publishing is really so slanderous.

To my staff and next semester's EIC: I was incredibly blessed to have people just as passionate, crazy and willing to take chances as I am. I challenge you to this: raise more hell, make #(expletive)thefamuan a trending topic every single edition, uncover more scandals and corruption and don't let anyone "shut you up."

Because nothing will ever change or begin to improve at FAMU until people stop acting scared, stop turning a blind eye to what's wrong and start speaking up for what they feel is right. 

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