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Misconduct results in ban

Ohio University’s men’s water polo team has been disbanded for hazing after the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility investigated an Ohio University Police Department report involving alcohol as part of an initiation ritual.

The team was found in violation of code A.4.g — mental or bodily harm to others — of the Student Code of Conduct, said Martha Compton, director of Community Standards and Student Responsibility.

Official sanctions were given Dec. 2, and the team is suspended until Aug. 15, 2015, Compton said.

“That means they are not a student organization, they cannot meet, they cannot compete, all those kinds of things,” Compton said.

The team can form as a student organization starting Aug. 16, 2015, but will have to remain a student organization for one year before it can apply to be a club sport, Aug. 15, 2016.  

The team will be on probation for its first year as a student organization, meaning it will be unable to compete, Compton said.

The team will be required to develop a two-hour hazing education program to be presented to its members on an annual basis and present a hazing education program to two other clubs for two years after its reinstatement, Compton said.

“The idea is, we give a couple of graduation cycles to maybe get some folks who have kind of been steeped in that culture that included some hazing to move on,” Compton said.

Members of the team did not return requests for comments.

Jenny Hall-Jones, dean of students, said she wanted the Division of Student Affairs to take a look at its policy on hazing last spring because of some national cases of hazing, but due to vacancies, the division wasn’t able to move forward.

Hall-Jones also plans to evaluate its hazing policy in order to make the definition of hazing clearer to students, she said.

“What we’ve discovered is that students don’t understand truly what the definition of hazing is,” Hall-Jones said, adding that most people think of hazing as hurting or pressuring another person to fit into a group.

Doing personal favors for someone or being called a demeaning name is also considered a form of hazing, Compton said.

“There is a slow transition of power and a shift in power that occurs over time with small events that allow the bigger events to happen,” Compton said.

Compton likens hazing to dating violence.

“Nobody shows up to a first date and goes out with somebody and gets smacked in the face and shows for date number two. That doesn’t happen, so it’s the same kind of thing with hazing,” Compton said. “No one is going to get paddled on night one and say, ‘Oh yeah, I definitely want to be part of this group.’”



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