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When people think of hazing allegations, people think of fraternities. Is it because we’re involved with the majority of hazing violations? No, of course not. Even if we were responsible for the bulk of them, the real reason fraternities pop into people’s minds is because the media makes all of us think that way. Not only do they always seem to blow it out of proportion, but they always seem to focus on us. Other organizations haze too, and sometimes worse.
Sororities haze, though I’ve never heard of anything too bad. Some members of academic and service-oriented clubs have been found guilty of hazing. Even marching bands have gotten in trouble for hazing, in some cases because people died. I came across the story of some hazing violations that doesn’t involve any of the aforementioned organizations, and honestly, I was a bit surprised.
The cheerleading team at Towson University has been suspended for the rest of the academic year, according to school officials. The team, which came in first at the National Cheerleaders Association’s college-level championship earlier this year, was investigated in early August after administrators received an anonymous tip. However, the school won’t release the details of what happened.
“Out of concern for students’ privacy and their rights to due process that includes their right to appeal the suspension, it would be inappropriate for the university to comment further.”
While the school isn’t willing to put out any additional information, some of the students are. According to one source, the team has decided to appeal the suspension, which is probably a smart move, considering it forbids them from practicing or competing in any competitions. The suspension also means that they cannot perform their routines at any university sporting events, which, to a cheerleader, is probably a devastating blow.
So, what exactly happened? Well, according to a source, the new members of the team were forced to get drunk and “dance” in front of the senior members. The source also alluded that he thought “dancing” may have included nudity, which is generally a red flag for university administrators.
The source stated that many on campus feel that something more serious may have happened. Though the source couldn’t provide any specifics, he did indicate that there are rumors going around that the cheerleaders were forced to drunkenly strip for members of the football team. This, of course, cannot be confirmed.
Whatever they did must have been pretty bad, at least in the school’s eyes. Full suspensions are rare, according to Jim Lord, the executive director of the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators, which is apparently a thing. According to him, suspensions generally follow an infraction of school policies by a few individuals. Logic tells me that if the whole team is suspended, it’s because the whole team did something that the school really wasn’t too happy with.
One former member of the team, Kaila Flood, attempted to ameliorate the situation like many alumni often do. In doing so, she adhered to the time honored principle of “Deny ’til you die.”
“I was a part of that team for four years and was the captain for two,” Flood said in an email. “There never was a source of hazing before me, during, or once I left not one of those girls would ever participate in something like that. [They’re] good-hearted people it’s a shame what there are being accused of.”
Classic move. For their sake, let’s hope it helps. Even if they are just cheerleaders, when one organization gets busted for hazing, it generally ends up screwing over all of us.