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Scott wants universities to review hazing and harassment policies

About a week after a Florida A&M University band member died in what authorities say could be a hazing-related incident, Gov. Rick Scott is now calling for a reevaluation of universities' hazing and harassment policies.

"Regardless of the conclusions following the investigation, hazing should be strictly condemned on our college and university campuses and by any organization associated directly or indirectly with our institutions," Scott wrote to state university system Chancellor Frank Brogan.

He urged Brogan to request that the state's 11 public university presidents review their procedures, as well as remind students, faculty and staff of how detrimental hazing can be. "It must be clear to everyone that hazing or any other form of harassment will not be tolerated under any circumstance," Scott wrote. 

He asked that Brogan and the Florida Board of Governors, which sets policies for the universities, keep him appraised of how they carry out his request.

The board currently requires every institution to have an anti-hazing policy in place. Board chairwoman Ava Parker reiterated that in a letter she sent to the chair of FAMU's Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

Parker, too, called on Brogan to investigate whether FAMU's administration took appropriate steps to prevent 26-year-old Robert Champion's death. The letter came after claims by ousted FAMU band director Julian White that administrators offered little support for his efforts to curb the Marching 100's hazing culture.

-- Kim Wilmath, St. Petersburg Times