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UPDATE: FAMU student paper faces hazing-related libel suit

FAMU Hazing
Posted at 10:08 AM, Jan 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-19 16:34:26-05

UPDATE (January 9, 2012 - 3:23 P.M.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL/AP) - Florida A&M University's student newspaper has delayed publication of its first spring semester edition due in part to a libel suit over a hazing story.

University officials on Wednesday acknowledged The Famuan newspaper's on-line edition erroneously implicated a band member in the 2011 hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

In a release to WTXL, university leaders say Keon Hollis, a drum major in the 2011 marching band, filed the claim due to inaccurate information published in The Famuan in a December 2, 2011 on-line news article. The actual complaint for defamation was filed electronically by Hollis' attorney in Leon County Circuit Court on December 3, 2012.

The two-week delay of the first edition until Jan. 30 will provide time for staffers to receive intensive training.

"We are working to balance students' rights to a free press through this process while also ensuring that The Famuan has the proper support from the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication as it serves as a training unit for up and coming journalists," Dean Ann Wead Kimbrough of FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communications said.

Another factor that led to the delay was the discovery by the journalism school's dean that some editors prior to August 2012 had been ineligible to participate in student media activities.