By: SCOTT CHIUSANO AND HALEY VELASCO
The Cornell men’s lacrosse team was placed on temporary suspension Thursday following an alleged hazing incident Sept. 13.
“This incident involves coerced alcohol consumption by underage freshmen,” said John Carberry, director of press relations for the university.
As of Thursday, the team was allowed to resume its training and practice in accordance with sanction guidelines.
According to a statement made by Andy Noel, the Meakem Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education, the team has been notified that all of the games scheduled for the fall semester are cancelled pending further notice.
“Hazing practices are harmful and antithetical to our values as a university and our commitment to student-athletes,” Noel said. “They have no place in Cornell athletics.”
As President David Skorton has taken serious steps to eliminate hazing from the Greek system, the University is taking these incidents increasingly seriously.
“Under President David Skorton, Cornell University has been a strong voice against hazing and the dangerous rituals that some think are merely rites of passage,” said Susan Murphy, Vice President for Student and Academic Services.
Though the most recent hazing incidents have involved members of the Greek system, Noel said that it can become a problem any time there is an abuse of power within the hierarchy of a group, even on a sports team.
“I am particularly concerned with coercive traditions that abuse the power differential between new students and underclassmen,” Noel said. “Team bonding is important, and there are many ways to achieve it that don’t involve hazing.”
In the wake of this incident, Murphy emphasized the importance of spreading awareness about the dangers of hazing.
“We are working as a community to heighten awareness, increase education, support positive team-building programs, and apply sanctions to address the dangerous situations involving hazing activities and/or use of alcohol,” Murphy said.
According to Noel, the University will be working with the lacrosse team in the coming weeks to educate them on the severity of this incident.
“We will work with this team intensely in the next days, weeks and months to educate them on the problematic actions and to help them identify appropriate, healthy activities in which they can bond,” Noel said. “We need our upperclassmen to model the high level behavior we demand from our student-athletes at Cornell.”
Murphy stressed that only when the students themselves learn to turn their backs on hazing can it truly be eliminated.
“Work on this campus has focused on the empowerment of students in particular to refuse to promote or participate in demeaning or dangerous acts, and to intervene when they are aware of it occurring to others,” Murphy said. “Hazing must stop now.”