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Athletic Director's Statements on Hazing

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June 12, 2006

June 12  |  Statement on disciplinary action regarding women's soccer hazing incident, Director of Athletics Mark Murphy

A hazing incident involving Northwestern University's women's soccer team occurred in August 2005. The incident involving the women's soccer team consisted of underage drinking and additional inappropriate behavior that violated the University's anti-hazing policy.

The Division of Student Affairs recently completed an investigation of the incident. The University concluded that there had been an incident of hazing under the University's policy. As a result, the University and the Athletic Department are taking appropriate disciplinary action. While the program is no longer suspended, some members of the women's soccer team are being placed on disciplinary probation while the entire team will be required to participate in a team community service project and to attend educational sessions on hazing. Also, selected players will serve suspensions from regular-season games during the 2006 season, which begins Aug. 25. Additional disciplinary action will be taken against several members of the team.

Federal law prohibits universities from releasing information about specific actions taken in regard to individual students.

The Athletic Department addresses hazing and other student-related issues annually. Last fall, each coach and student-athlete were given an institutional brochure on hazing and asked to formally acknowledge the receipt of the hazing policies. The department also held a mandatory educational session on hazing for all student-athletes and spirit squad members in April 2006.

As I have stated previously, Northwestern will not tolerate hazing of any kind. When it discovers allegations of hazing or other violations of student conduct regulations, the University will respond quickly and take the appropriate actions.

May 18 | Statement on men's swimming and athletic mascot students, Director of Athletics Mark Murphy

Two hazing incidents involving Northwestern athletics occurred during the current academic year in addition to the alleged hazing last August by the women’s soccer team. A hazing incident involving the Northwestern University men’s swimming team occurred in September 2005 and another hazing incident involving the students who perform as the Northwestern mascot occurred in October 2005.

The incident involving the men’s swimming team consisted of underage drinking, having new members of the team swim in Lake Michigan at a time when the Northwestern beach was closed, and additional inappropriate behavior that violated the University’s anti-hazing policy.

After the Division of Student Affairs investigated the incident, the University concluded that there had been an incident of hazing under the University’s policy. The University and the Athletic Department took appropriate disciplinary action. All members of the men’s swimming team were placed on disciplinary probation and were required to participate in a team community service project and to attend educational sessions on hazing.

Additional disciplinary action was taken against several members of the team, but federal law prohibits universities from releasing information about specific actions taken in regard to individual students.

In addition, the Athletic Department canceled the team’s training trip to Hawaii during Northwestern’s winter break and several players were not allowed to participate in one or more swim meets.

The incident involving the students who perform as the team athletic mascot also was investigated by Student Affairs. In that incident, students staged a fake abduction of new students who were candidates to play the role of the mascot.

After the University concluded that there had been an incident of hazing, the students who had been performing as the mascot were terminated from their positions and placed on disciplinary probation. In addition, the mascot did not perform at several football games.

The Athletic Department addresses hazing and other student-related issues annually. Following the incident with the swim team in the fall, each coach and student-athlete was given an institutional brochure on hazing and asked to formally acknowledge the receipt of the hazing policies. The department also held a mandatory educational session on hazing for all student-athletes and spirit squad members in April 2006.

As I have stated previously, Northwestern will not tolerate hazing of any kind. When it discovers allegations of hazing or other violations of student conduct regulations, the University will respond quickly and take the appropriate actions.

The University is continuing its investigation of the alleged incident involving the women’s soccer team and will take appropriate action if it is determined that the University’s anti-hazing policy was violated.

May 16 | Statement on women's soccer, Director of Athletics Mark Murphy

Northwestern University today (May 16) learned of allegations that hazing took place last year involving the women's soccer team. Hazing is forbidden under the University's anti-hazing policy.

Northwestern's Division of Student Affairs will conduct a thorough investigation of the alleged incident. I have asked all Athletic Department staff, team coaches and members of the team to cooperate fully in the investigation by Student Affairs.

If the investigation shows that there has been a violation of Northwestern's policies, appropriate sanctions will be imposed and the Athletic Department may take additional action as well. Until this investigation is completed, I have suspended the women's soccer team from all organized athletic activities.

Topics: University