Boston College has suspended both its men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams after allegations of hazing.
The university released a statement on Wednesday without providing any details about what prompted the suspensions, merely saying: “The University does not—and will not—tolerate hazing in any form.”
The allegations “will be investigated by the Office of the Dean of Students and adjudicated fairly and impartially through the student conduct process”, the statement added.
The Boston College handbook gives a lengthy definition of what could be included as hazing activity, such as something "that humiliates, degrades, or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate," including "personal servitude; sleep deprivation and restrictions on personal hygiene; yelling, swearing, and insulting new members/rookies; being forced to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire in public; consumption of vile substances or smearing of such on one’s skin; brandings; physical beatings; binge drinking and drinking games; sexual simulation and sexual assault."
The National Collegiate Athletic Association defines hazing as “active or passive participation in such acts and occurs regardless of the willingness to participate in the activities. Hazing creates an environment/climate in which dignity and respect are absent,” according to its website.
“Everyone’s very welcoming [at Boston College], but just hazing in general is a pretty toxic thing,” Rocco Marini, a student at Boston College, told NBC.
The Boston Eagles teams were supposed to kick off their 2023 season on 7 October with a road meet against George Washington University Athletics, but the teams could still be on suspension by then, student newspaper The Heights reports.
More than 60 students make up the two teams, which compete in Division 1. The statement said these students will still have access to academic and medical resources while they are on suspension.
Joe Brinkman, the head coach of the swim team and Brian Kean, the assistant coach had been with the teams for little over a year before the team was suspended. The diving coach Jack Lewis has been with the team since 2019, reports the New York Times.
Within Massachusetts state law, hazing is prohibited and could be punishable by a fine of $3,000 and one year in jail, the handbook also states. A failure to report hazing is also punishable by a fine of no more than $1,000.
This is the most recent incident in a widespread hazing problem at universities across the United States.
The parents of a student at the University of Alabama filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the infamous fraternal organisation Sigma Alpha Epsilon, after he sustained a traumatic brain injury during hazing.
However, hazing is just as prevalent in sports as it is in fraternities. Northwestern University’s head football coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired in July due to his “failure to know and prevent significant hazing in the football program," according to President Michael Schill.
Another staff member, Greg Heiarm was also fired as the coach of the New Mexico State’s basketball team for hazing allegations in February.
The Independent has reached out to the head coach and assistant coach of the swimming team, the head coach of the diving team, the Boston College Eagles and Boston College for comment.
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