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Not three months after a Florida A&M University student band member died in what police said was hazing, a University of Florida student suffered injuries in what UF says was “serious physical hazing.”
The incident happened off campus over the weekend, said UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes. She would not name the student nor detail his injuries, other than to say they were “visible” and that UF was not aware that the student went to the hospital. The fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, has been suspended pending a police investigation, Sikes said.
It happened just days after a new anti-hazing task force at UF convened for the first time, Sikes said. After the November death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion, Gov. Rick Scott asked the 11 state universities to review their hazing policies.
“As vigilant as we’ve been with our anti-hazing programs and educational efforts and outreach, this happened in the middle of all that,” Sikes said. “We cannot have this happening.”
UF President Bernie Machen told students about the incident in an email Tuesday afternoon. He urged anyone with information about any hazing incidents to contact UF or the UF Police Department, acknowledging that the “secretive nature of hazing,” makes it difficult to root out.
“Hazing is specifically prohibited by UF regulations, and it is also classified as a crime in Florida,” Machen wrote. “We cannot tolerate hazing on our campus or in our university community, and anyone found responsible will face the gravest possible consequences, including expulsion and criminal penalties.”