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PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas

Prairie View A&M University’s suspension has been put on hold.

One day after suspending the entire Prairie View athletic
department because of the historically Black institution’s defiance
regarding earlier sanctions against its marching band, the Southwestern
Athletic Conference reversed course and “agreed to place the suspension
in abeyance until further review,” according to the SWAC.

The whole situation stemmed from a September 19 halftime brawl
between the marching bands of Southern University and Prairie View.
Several band members were injured and both schools incurred damage to
uniforms and instruments. Afterwards, Prairie View officials said the
university would no longer compete against Southern. The SWAC
immediately suspended both bands for two football games (see Black
Issues, October 15).

Prairie View’s band sat out the September 26 game against Langston
University, which was the school’s first football victory since 1989.
But the band returned the following week for a game against Grambling
University. That sparked the league’s anger, and SWAC Commissioner Rudy
Washington suspended the entire Prairie View athletics program from
conference competition.

SWAC released a statement from the conference’s Council of
Presidents that unanimously upheld the decision by Washington to
suspend Prairie View athletics. But Washington decided to lift the
suspension for now.

“Placing the matter in abeyance means that although the
commissioner’s ruling was unanimously approved, … the immediate
imposition of sanctions against the university has been delayed until
the review process has been completed,” the release said.

As part of the reprieve, Prairie View agreed to withdraw its
refusal to play Southern in any athletic event. That refusal played a
key role in Washington’s decision to suspend the entire Prairie View
athletics program.

Alabama State President Dr. William H. Harris, president of the SWAC Council of Presidents, said the matter is not over.

“This is a serious matter,” he said. “We’re working to resolve it
as amicably as we can and in the best interest of the conference.”

COPYRIGHT 1998 Cox, Matthews & Associates



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