Canadian University Suspends Men’s Volleyball Team After Student’s Death Linked to Hazing Party

Okay, so the administration at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada isn’t saying that an event involving consuming large amounts of alcohol held by veteran members of the school’s men’s volleyball team caused the death of a team member . . . but they come pretty darn close. You see, back in October, volleyball team member Andrew Jason Bartlett was found dead in an apartment stairwell. After some intense investigation, police found that Bartlett had spent the evening with members of the volleyball team participating in some drinking games where rookies were required to pay more for their booze than the veterans. Translation: we expect you to drink more than we do.

So far, police do not have evidence to directly connect the evening’s event with Bartlett’s death, but St. Thomas isn’t taking and chances and they have suspended the volleyball team for a year.  Anyone still want to argue that sports hazing is a harmless team building exercise? Want to try and convince Barlett’s grieving parents of that?

Here’s more on this sad story from the Winnipeg Free Press:

St. Thomas University in New Brunswick has suspended its men’s volleyball team for the rest of the school year after concluding it organized a hazing party attended by a team member who later died.  Andrew Jason Bartlett was found dead in a Fredericton apartment in October after going to a party with teammates. Police said criminal activity did not lead to the 21-year-old man’s death but that alcohol was a contributing factor in an accidental fall that killed him.  The university launched its own investigation after rumours surfaced that an initiation party had been held.

University president Dennis Cochrane said the review, carried out by registrar Larry Batt and athletics director Mike Eagles, shows that team members made a collective decision to buy alcohol and that rookie players such as Bartlett were required to pay more than the veteran members of the team.  “There was a very clear identification of rookies, very clearly a treatment of them different than other members of the team,” Cochrane told a news conference Thursday.

He said a party involving drinking games began on-campus before migrating off-campus, but added that there was no evidence that anyone was forced to drink.