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College Hockey:
Task force to study Boston University team’s culture in wake of sexual assault charges

A task force is being assembled to study the culture and climate of Boston University’s men’s hockey team in the wake of two players being charged with assault this season, the school’s president announced Thursday.

In an email to Boston University students and faculty, president Robert A. Brown wrote that the hockey program finds itself at a crossroads after the arrests. In December, forward Corey Trivino was dismissed from the team after being arrested and charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery.

On Sunday, defenseman Max Nicastro was arrested and faces sexual assault charges. He was suspended from the team.

“The charges in these cases understandably lead to questions about whether the hockey team’s culture and climate have contributed in some way to the actions of the two individuals,” Brown wrote in the email. “The University must address these questions and, if deficiencies are identified, make appropriate and necessary changes.”

The task force will be made up of university trustees, overseers, faculty and staff, Brown wrote, and is being formed with the support of Terriers coach Jack Parker, athletic director Mike Lynch and Bob Knox, the chairman of the board of trustees.

The full text of the email is below:

February 23, 2012

Dear Colleagues and Students:

For decades the Boston University men’s ice hockey team has been a source of tremendous pride for the Boston University community, on and off the ice. Our student athletes have competed at the highest level of collegiate ice hockey and united generations of students, alumni, and friends who cheer for their success and admire their accomplishments.

Today we find ourselves at a crossroads for the men’s ice hockey program and the University. As has been extensively reported, two members of our team have been charged with assault this academic year. These charges, if ultimately substantiated, involve reprehensible acts. The Boston University community expects that our student athletes, as representatives of the University, adhere to the same high standards to which we hold all members of our community and which reflect the mission and aspirations of our university.

The charges in these cases understandably lead to questions about whether the hockey team’s culture and climate have contributed in some way to the actions of the two individuals. The University must address these questions and, if deficiencies are identified, make appropriate and necessary changes.

I am writing to let you know that I am forming a task force of University trustees, overseers, faculty, and staff which will be charged with studying the culture and climate of the men’s ice hockey team and its influence on the behavior of student athletes in our campus community. I stress that the constitution of the task force does not reflect a judgment about the specific facts in the two cases of alleged assault. The determination of both cases must be left to the judicial system.

The constitution of the task force does, however, reflect a University-level judgment that the two incidents indicate something systemic or habitual may foster a team climate that does not comport with the highest standards of conduct we seek to maintain for all members of our community.

I launch this task force with the full support of Head Coach Jack Parker, Athletic Director Mike Lynch, and Bob Knox, Chairman of our Board of Trustees. Coach Parker told The Boston Globe, “I hope it’s a horrible coincidence. I don’t want this to be the culture of our team, and if it is, we’ll change it.” Coach Parker’s comment is exactly right.

The membership of the task force, its charge, and its work plan will be announced in the next several weeks. The goal is for the task force to offer the University a thoughtful and impartial assessment of the culture and climate of our team, with a view to answering the question whether that culture and climate could have contributed to actions that, in turn, led to criminal charges. I will ask to have a report from the task force early in the summer so that we can begin to address any issues in the coming academic year.

Working together, we will do whatever is necessary to restore the Boston University community’s confidence in the men’s ice hockey program. I look forward to reporting to you on our progress.

Sincerely,

Robert A. Brown
President

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  • mainejeff

    Don’t need to look any further than the head coach……..he sets the table for the culture of I’m holier than thou”……..

    • Fan Man

      I disagree , Sioux fan here! I think what they are doing is an appropriate way to handle the situation… I dont like BU or BC obviously but if it were your teams program…. I hope they would do something similar and not just let it go or unheard. Props to BU on difficult times and year

      • Yeah, I go to BC…

        just out of curiosity, why mention BC in your comment? Nowhere in the article is BC mentioned… In the past years, there have not been any such incidents at BC… Jerry York is a coach with true class who runs a quality program based on playing good hockey and teaching players to be good people as well as good players.

    • Poker Face

      Give him credit for not covering up anything.  You know, like that Shawn Walsh guy. 

      • Jablome

        At least maine’s never had Several players in the same year sexually assault women. Jack Parker is a pile of crap and so is his university full of assaulters and rapists.

  • black hat

    Spoken like someone who’s never met the guy. 

  • Vizoroo

    “ a task force of University trustees, overseers, faculty, and staff”.
    Looks like an insider investigation. Perhaps students who live in the “climate and culture” could add a dimension and what about some non-affiliated/unbiased participation.”:

    • I’m from BC, but…

      BU has no responsibility to launch this task force and can put whoever they want on it. It is an appropriate response to what has taken place. The Boston Police Department and the justice system are still conducting their investigations and if the results call for BU to act, they will.

  • BUguy

    The task force should commence immediately, not within several weeks when the hockey season is over. Duh.

  • guest

    They are so not a raper

  • jack o’callahan

    i have known jack parker, for 40 yrs. he is now and always has been a man of great class, who i will match against any coach in any sport. if there is a hidden prpblem, he will find it and correct it, immediately. jack o’callahan,sr. charlestown,mass. 

  • BC fan

    I have to respectfully disagree with the comments about Jack Parker and class.  This is a guy who has at least 3-4 incidents of verbally abusing officials every year and also kicks 1-2 kids off the squad every year.  The tone gets set from the top. 

  • Innocent until proven Guilty

    I hope these kids are actually guilty, and not getting framed by some rich girl desperate for any type of attention she can get.

    • Justice?

      I agree with you, there is nothing worse. Hopefully this task force can find out the truth because if you guys haven’t noticed the Justice System cant do its job by itself.

      • lawpuck

         I grew up in Menomonie, WI, home to UW-Stout, which dealt with this on a much worse level.  Two players allegedly killed another person. One of the players was acquitted of all charges and the other plead guilty to Disorderly Conduct for the fight in the bar prior to the altercation causing the death.  Stout had a task force, and they almost made things worse for prosecutors by creating civil rights violations.  Also, both players were suspended and eventually released from the team.  Stout is a great example of the problems caused by academics and the law trying to mix.

  • WakanTanka

    Amazing that this is the response at BU.  Meanwhile, Look at Hakstool in North Dakota and the way the passive administration there just lets things go.  I guess they’d be okay with Graham James as coach as long as the Sue win for a change

    • Scott Reed

      you are a fool… Do you remember one of the best players in the country last year Matt Frattin?  And how he was kicked off the team and had to walk back on? Sioux fans get a bad rap but this article has nothing to do with the Sioux and other fans have to try and bring us down, it never ceases to amaze me

    • UNDNorthStars

      You sir know jack diddly and have zero class. Not good for all of college hockey when something like this happens at an elite program. – Sioux fan

    • SIOUXFAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

       who are you ? a nobody obviously. Attack Hakstol on what grounds? a few players drinking, big whoop…its college. I’d like you to explain how you can relate Hakstol to any of this and id  like USCHO to remove your post.

      • Jablowme

         ”who are you? a nobody”

        Oh, that classic Sioux fan elitist mentality. It’s no wonder your program is nearly universally hated.

  • Sucks to BU

    Just look at the way they play hockey… They have the most penalty minutes per game of any team IN THE COUNTRY!  You don’t have statistics like that without having players/coaches who think it’s ok to break the rules.

    • not all due to coaching

      Is the coaching staff saying it is okay to break the rules by being the head of a team who has the most penalty minutes? I don’t think so. Someone has to lead the category. Many teams in the past have lead the category without having off ice issues.

      I think it has much more to do with individuals on the team. They seem to be incredibly undisciplined both on and off the ice. The coaching staff can definitely set the tone both on and off the ice, but it comes down to the character within each of these kids as to whether or not they are going to stop moving their feet and trip someone, run someone from behind, or do something unspeakable off the ice. 

      • Sucks to BU

        Oh I definitely agree that ultimately it comes down to the character of the players, but the coaches do indeed set the tone in the locker room.  With a coaching staff that believes in discipline, a player who disregards the rules and is penalized that often won’t get the playing time. 

        I was trying to make more of a commentary on the BU players character in general rather than their coaches, but also wanted to acknowledge that the coaching staff can have some impact.

  • guest

    Perhaps for their research they can go visit the Brotherhood at Miami University, what an example of culture in the hockey community.

  • Kronwalled

    I just wanted to post a comment on this thread to say I was a part of something ridiculous.  

  • Afeirstein

    Very typical for a classless BC fan to attack BU. Very classy. Coach Parker is a fine gentleman who has dedicated his life to the game of college hockey longer than many of you have been alive. As a father of two young children, I want this world to be safe for them so credit BU for taking the proper steps to rectify two unfortunate situations. As for BC fan, you’re not even in Boston, so I find it best to keep your attitudes and prejudices on the Hill!!

    • Cavoto

      stop generalizing.  ”very typical” of an anonymous poster on the USCHO website to make a claim like this.  here’s what the situation is: two college athletes made mistakes that were/are against the law.  i am a BC fan and the fact that 2 BU players have been arrested for sexual assault does not look good on the Boston University community as a whole.  

      the situation is not going to be “rectified” by a BU panel, but hopefully they can come up with a solution to prevent other instances from happening in the future.  as a father of 2 young children, i suggest that you stop talking about the “attitudes” of BC people and start looking at the students who have actually been accused of sexual assault.  these aren’t “unfortunate situations,” these are crimes against other peoples’ children.

  • Shawn

    Is Coach Parker going the way of Joe Paterno? -is he getting too old and becoming out of touch with identifying character people and having lapses in judgement? Did BC recruit these players? alot of it is left to scouts and assistants-perhaps the desire to be the best and catch BC has made BU take questionable character guys. I hate to say it but it is a reflection of Parker…And while he has basked in all the accolades of his sucess he must face up to these 3 massive failures…This isnt just drinking and getting in trouble-this is a whole nother level.

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