Colgate University has informed its men's varsity rowing team that it will not compete during the fall seasons, during the first competition of the spring season or during the post-season following an investigation into alcohol-related hazing.
The university took swift action once it received the hazing allegations Aug. 29. An investigation was completed on Aug. 30, determining that hazing had occurred.
"Hazing is inimical to Colgate's values," vice president and dean of the college Paul J. McLoughlin II wrote in a Sept. 1 email, as reported by syracuse.com. "Hazing has been shown, in many studies, to not be effective in building bonds or eliciting loyalty."
The investigation is ongoing, according to The Colgate Maroon-News student newspaper, which reports that disciplinary measures were determined by university vice president and director of athletics Victoria Chun. It is the the first case of hazing Chun has faced in her 10-year tenure as a school administrator.
In an online statement, Chun noted, “It is imperative that our student-athletes uphold the highest standards academically, athletically and socially. They fully understand that failure to meet these expectations is simply unacceptable, and is a disservice to all other student-athletes on our campus who are dedicated to doing the right thing every day.”
That said, the decision nonetheless was a difficult one. “I know these kids. We went to London with them — all of them except the first-years. So it was difficult," Chun told the Maroon-News. "But we talk to all of our teams, every varsity sport, and we tell them about hazing — what it is, what the ramifications are. Beyond that, it’s [against] state law.
“They also sign a Student Athlete Code of Conduct," Chun added. "So I think that’s why it was so disappointing. Because it’s not something our student-athletes don’t know about, or how we feel about it.”
The student-athletes accepted their disciplinary fate, according to Chun. “I think they were respectful. They listened," she said. "Of course they were disappointed, but I think they were disappointed within themselves versus the actual decision.”
Chun said the decision was well-received among parents and alumni, and McLaughlin reports that it has been widely supported within the Colgate community. “To date, I have received several notes from faculty, staff and students acknowledging and thanking us for the firm stance we have taken against hazing and the accompanying message notifying the community of the university’s decision," McLoughlin told theMaroon-News.