Settlement reached in hazing complaint
By Melanie Yeager
Tallahassee Democrat, February 11, 2004

Florida A&M University's board of trustees agreed Tuesday to pay a former Marching 100 clarinet player $50,000.

Ivery Luckey, a former FAMU business student and band member from Ocala, had originally sued the Board of Regents saying he was hazed in 1998. He had sought damages, from the now-defunct board that governed Florida's public universities, in excess of $15,000. He'll also get $208 toward mediation costs.

In his complaint, filed in Leon Circuit Court, Luckey said a paddling, during which he was hit at least 300 times, resulted in his being hospitalized and left him permanently injured.

Luckey could not be reached for comment, but his Tallahassee attorney, Erika Bush, said, "He's - as best as he can - moved on with his life, and hopefully resolution of this case will help him do that."

University officials did not have much to say about Luckey's case.

"It's a case that's behind us. It's settled," FAMU President Fred Gainous said.

Luckey's case in 1998 led to 20 students' being suspended from school, but it wasn't the last time that FAMU's famed band, known for its disciplined dance steps and musical prowess, made headlines for hazing.

Three years later, then-freshman Marcus Parker, a trumpet player from Jacksonville, checked into a local hospital with kidney failure after being struck repeatedly with a paddling board as part of a band initiation. Eleven arrests followed.

Hazing complaints have plagued the band since the 1950s. Band members caught hazing used to be suspended from the band. Now, they are barred from ever returning, Band Director Julian White has said. A 1990 Florida law prohibits hazing and requires universities to enforce it and assess penalties.

Gainous says in the future FAMU plans to prosecute those being hazed as well as those hazing.

And FAMU continues to drill home the message that hazing won't be tolerated.

"We are very intense in preventing any kind of hazing occurring again," White said Tuesday. The band has three separate workshops advocating against hazing each fall - one for officers, one for freshmen and another for returning members.

"Since I've been in the band, it's something expressed and understood from Day One," said Virgil Miller, assistant drum major and vice president of the student body.

Miller said it was depressing to see fellow band members arrested following the Parker incident.

"But we knew it was something that had to be addressed," Miller said.

White and Miller said band members have seen the negative publicity resulting from hazing and don't want to see it repeated. Band members are embarrassed by the group's tarnished reputation, especially since they think hazing is inhumane, White said.

Said White: "I'm very proud of their reactions to this."

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