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Singing Men of Ohio cease and desist order lifted after university investigation

Ohio University’s Singing Men of Ohio had its cease and desist order lifted Dec. 2, 2021, after a university investigation found a claim the group violated the Student Code of Conduct unsubstantiated. 

Singing Men of Ohio, or SMO, is both an academic organization and a class at OU. The group was issued a cease and desist order Nov. 29, 2021, for allegedly violating the Student Code of Conduct and endangering the health and safety of its members, according to a previous Post report. Under the cease and desist, SMO was prohibited from meeting in any capacity outside of coursework, sanctioned practices and university-sanctioned performances.

An incident report alleged SMO required calisthenics — a type of strength training — for its new members and also allowed underage alcohol consumption to take place, according to the investigation’s executive summary. 

The Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility, or CSSR, began its investigation into the allegations Dec. 2, 2021, and interviewed 12 witnesses in the process, according to the executive summary.

During that investigation, some members of SMO said there was alcohol at a formal SMO ceremony. However, there was “insufficient information” to suggest alcohol was provided to any student in an illegal manner, according to the executive summary.

During the investigation, CSSR also learned individual new members were required to walk between two locations to attend a formal SMO ceremony. According to the executive summary, many members of SMO said the walk was excessively long. The investigation found the walk was not intended to be harmful, and there was not enough information to suggest the walk or its planning constituted a violation.

The matter has since been closed, and CSSR has made the following recommendations:

  • SMO should create, maintain and enforce a risk management policy and plan for all its events that contain alcohol, including how SMO will make sure no underage members consume alcohol during the event.
  • SMO should create an executive summary and overview of its Big/Little reveal traditions so there is no confusion about what the process entails for new members at events. 
  • SMO should have its student leaders communicate “freely and consistently” to its members if Big/Little plans change or if the process is delayed so all parties can make informed decisions

@abblawrence

am166317@ohio.edu

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