Sidelined by what members and the coaching staff call a harmless tradition, but what the administration is investigating as a violation of the school’s hazing policy. Exactly what happened to get the girls the boot? Details are scarce, but it appears to involve the annual tradition of painting some rocks at school (we’re assuming these are the boulder-sized ones) and then “being chased by the local police through campus” and then through the nearby neighborhoods. At face value, it sounds harmless enough but really, in these times of tight budgets, don’t cops in even the most peacefull little towns have better things to do? And even if they don’t, what are the liability concequenses of either driving at high speeds or running on foot chasing college athletes? What if someone blows out a knee . . . or a tire?
More importantly, does it fall under the tradiitonal definition of hazing? Maybe not, but the current Pennsylvania Statute on the subject is clear:
Any action or a situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in any organization operating under the sanction of, or recognized as, an organization by an institution of higher education.
Still, you might argue that the painting of rocks is not really “destroying public property” (they can be cleaned off and probably are every year) but the ESU Anti-Hazing policy is even more specific. Under basic requirements (how to treat new group members) it clearly states that “Activities must be constructive.” To the coach at ESU who claims this wasn’t hazing, can you please tell us what the “constructive” purpose of this activity is? Other than “it’s a tradition?”
Seriously though, after doing this for nearly ten years, this is not the worst thing we have ever heard a college sports team do to its members (at least based on the info we have). On the other hand, we do believe that every university has the right AND THE RESPONSIBILITY to set hazing policy and enforce it consistently. So far, to us at least, ESU–unlike most colleges and universities–seems to be following it’s rules, regardless of the temporary pain it might be causing some of its student-athletes. Agree or disagree? Post your comments below.
Here’s more on the story:
East Stroudsburg University campus police officers reportedly participated in a possible act of hazing that cost the field hockey team a chance to participate in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships.
On the evening of Oct. 4, members of the campus police chased members of the team throughout the campus and into the surrounding neighborhoods, according to information received by the Monroe County District Attorney’s office. The information came in the form of a request for an investigation of a potential violation of Pennsylvania’s anti-hazing law from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
No decision has been made as to whether an investigation will be initialed by the Monroe County District Attorney’s office. The chase is reportedly part of a team tradition that may go back more than two decades.
According to the request from PASSHE, team leadership makes arrangements with the police department to “catch” the field hockey members who are painting rocks near the field hockey field and then pursue them throughout campus. “My definition of hazing, it’s not hazing,” said Coach Sandy Miller, who is in her 26th season with ESU. She declined further comment.
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