A Mistake Explained

December 5, 2011

By Peter McKay | FAMU ’97 | Email

I made a mistake on the blog last night that warrants a detailed explanation.

In a post about the database submissions we’ve received so far and how the university might effectively fight hazing, I included a reference describing FAMU President James Ammons as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha. This was incorrect, as several readers pointed out and Alpha’s leadership confirmed today to Famuan staff.

Due to readers’ quick online response, we were able to quickly correct this site and a copy of the post that I shared with The Famuan for its website last night. However, we realized the error too late for The Famuan’s press run for its print edition today, which contains the original error.

The next print edition will have to contain a correction, as it should.

That leaves the question lingering, how exactly did this happen? I’m embarrassed to say, it’s simply that I was writing from memory regarding this particular detail, and memory failed me. When I was in school in the ’90s and Dr. Ammons was provost, his boss was indeed an Alpha. As I recalled it, the president at that time had hired another Alpha (Ammons) as his right hand.

Again, this recollection was wrong. I want to publicly apologize to Dr. Ammons for the error.

I’d also like to apologize to the Famuan Editor in Chief Clarece Polke and her staff, whose hard work on the rest of the paper I would hate to see marred by my mistake. This one is entirely on me as an alum who should’ve known better.

Finally, I hope my mistake regarding a certain detail doesn’t cause people to lose sight of the bigger picture the post described. That stands as far as I’m concerned.

Whether Dr. Ammons is a member of Alpha or not, we still have a complaint in hand from a current student alleging violent hazing within that frat’s FAMU chapter. In last night’s post, I also quoted alumni descriptions of alleged abuses at other campus organizations in past decades, including a pledge thrown down some steps, one burned with a hotplate, and a female band member dragged screaming across a field by her hair.

If you read that entire column and came away chiefly concerned that I flubbed the president’s fraternity status, maybe my error isn’t the only thing that needs correcting.

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2 Responses to “A Mistake Explained”

  1. Rondrea M. Says:

    Or maybe you need to do a bit more research before publishing articles.

  2. Peter McKay Says:

    Thanks! Sounds like you’d make a great editor.


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