September 23, 2013

Cornell Issues Details on Hazing Suspension

by Sean Burns | | Twitter

Cornell University has issued new details on the hazing incident that caused the cancellation of the men's lacrosse team's fall slate, posting details of the complaint to its hazing incident site over the weekend.

According to the website, school officials were notified on Sept. 12 that new members of the lacrosse team were being hazed by the upperclassmen. The freshmen were expected to perform chores and spend significant amount of time with the upperclassmen in both team and social situations. One such situation involved a "keg race," where underage freshmen team members were challenged to consume large amounts of alcohol while standing in a circle and connected via a string passed through each members' belt loops.

After an investigation, the school decided to have the team participate in anti-hazing education programs and suspended the team from fall activities, effective last Thursday. The team continues to practice, but cancelled its two external events.

One, which takes place next weekend, was a scrimmage against the Iroquois and Israel national teams at SUNY-Cortland. The event will still take place, as Syracuse has taken the Big Red's place in the schedule.

The other, the Capital Lacrosse Invitational in Bethesda, Md., is a fundraiser for the Mario St. George Boiardi Foundation, named in honor of Boiardi, a Cornell player who was killed on the field when struck in the chest by a shot in a 2004 game against Binghamton. On Friday, the Boiardi Foundation announced that the tournament's schedule would not change due to Cornell's backing out, and they were searching for a fourth team to join Bucknell, Lehigh and Penn State at the Oct. 13 event.

Cornell University has been very proactive with its anti-hazing policy since a 2011 incident involving the death of a student in a fraternity hazing incident. The school actively encourages students to report any incidents of hazing and maintains a website that details those reported events.

"Hazing practices are harmful and antithetical to our values as a university and our commitment to student athletes," Andy Noel, Cornell's athletic director, said in a statement.

"They have no place in Cornell University athletics. I am particularly concerned with coercive traditions that abuse the power differential between new students and upperclassmen."

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