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Bethune-Cook president launches an internal investigation into alleged hazing attack

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Trudie Kibbe Reed said Friday she’s taking the now former student’s complaint “very seriously” and if there needs to be further inquiries into the Marching Wildcats — “it will be done.”

“The last thing I want to do is send a kid home in a coffin. I just won’t do it,” Reed said Friday, referring to the death of a drum major last month at Florida A&M University amid hazing allegations.

University officials confirmed media reports that student Christopher King made a complaint that he had been hazed by fellow band members.

King could not be reached for comment. He told The Orlando Sentinel he was hit in the back of the neck so forcefully and often that he blacked out several times. He also described being made to roll around in the mud and do strenuous exercises.

Dwaun Warmack, Bethune-Cookman vice president for student affairs, said the university in August “did a full investigation and based on our investigation found one student in violation of the student code of conduct.” But Warmack would not say whether that code of conduct violation involved hazing.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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