Aug 29, 2012
A Humboldt State University investigation has found evidence of hazing at a women’s soccer team party earlier this month and, as a consequence, President Rollin Richmond has suspended the team for three games.
In addition, the investigation also identified numerous instances of underage drinking. The University has initiated disciplinary proceedings against a number of the players, who face individual sanctions for violations of both the student and the student-athlete codes of conduct.
The suspension means that the road trip scheduled to begin today has been cancelled. Matches with Dominican University, Cal State East Bay and Cal State Monterey Bay will not be played.
The hazing incident took place at an off-campus team party held Aug. 4. A complaint was made to HSU’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, which then assisted in a thorough investigation conducted by the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.
The team’s three-game suspension follows a suspension of the men’s soccer team for the entire 2012-13 season due to hazing.
University policy allows for broad discretion regarding appropriate sanctions for hazing and most other conduct offenses. In the cases involving the men’s and women’s soccer teams, the investigations found significant differences, including the severity of offenses and the extent of physical and psychological danger. Specific details cannot be divulged due to privacy laws.
“These investigations into hazing have been a difficult process for the teams and for the rest of the campus community,” said President Richmond in a message to students, faculty and staff. “I have heard from many who are surprised and deeply concerned, and I share their sentiments. We cannot allow hazing to occur at HSU.”
Hazing, broadly defined, is an activity expected of someone joining a group that humiliates them, degrades them, or risks emotional or physical harm. It is hazing regardless of whether the person is a willing participant.
HSU officials stress that they take issues of hazing very seriously, and believe it is important that all students understand it will not be tolerated. Hazing is illegal, and violates HSU’s student code of conduct as well as its student-athlete code of conduct.
President Richmond has directed campus offices to create new programs and expand existing efforts related to hazing. These include random alcohol and drug testing of student-athletes, ensuring that NCAA best practices related to hazing are closely followed, new annual reporting and procedures within Intercollegiate Athletics, a strict requirement that all hazing and other student code violations be investigated by Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, and a revision of the Life Skills class taken by student-athletes.