Seven Plattsburgh State men’s players have been suspended from play and face school judicial action following an investigation by Plattsburgh University Police into a hazing incident at an off-campus party.
Four members of a sorority also face disciplinary action. The incident, which occured on Sept. 30, apparently involves eight incoming freshman hockey players.
The incident came to light when a member of the Campus Life professional staff was informed on Oct. 3 of a possible hazing event. University Police was notified and launched an investigation.
After speaking with 28 individuals, University Police concluded that the initiation of the eight freshmen at the off-campus party, was classified, officially, as hazing, as identified by the Student Code of Conduct Manual. University Police issued judicial referrals against the 11 students and the Phi Kappa Chi sorority for participation in the hazing of the new hockey players.
“We do not condone the inappropriate actions of our students and student athletes,” said school president Horace Judson. “In fact, we hold our student athletes to a higher standard since they represent the college community and are role models on and off campus.
“We are fortunate that no one was injured in this incident,” said Judson. “It is unfortunate though that the students involved showed poor judgement and immaturity. Their actions may result in college disciplinary action against themselves and could have a lasting effect on the team’s season. Time will tell in both instances.”
University Police discussed the incident with Plattsburgh City Police and the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office. Both concluded that no criminal charges were warranted.
University Police also stated that the student athletes were forthright in providing information about the incident in their statements.
The students face a variety of college judicial referrals, including aiding and abetting, disorderly conduct, providing alcohol to a person under the age of 21, endangerment and hazing. If found responsible, all students face judicial sanctions ranging from a reprimand to dismissal from the college.
As a result of the judicial referrals, the veteran hockey team members involved also face game suspensions that will begin with this Saturday’s exhibition game against Humberg College of Toronto.
“Right from the beginning of the season, the players know that hazing will not be condoned by myself, my staff or the college,” said Plattsburgh head coach Bob Emery. “I regret that the mistakes of some of the players will reflect negatively on the other members of the team, the institution and our reputation.
“These student athletes have done many positive things for the community both on and off the ice. We have always prided ourselves on our tradition of student athletes being involved in community service projects. I hope, as does every member of the team, that our Cardinal hockey fans will continue to support us through this difficult time.”
The Phi Kappa Chi Sorority, which is already on suspension through the rest of this calendar year for violating college conduct regulations last spring, faces all of the judicial referrals previously mentioned along with an added referral of falsification of information.
The sorority, which is commonly known as the “Clios,” was found responsible of hazing and verbally harassing prospective members during the spring 2000 semester new member education period by the College Committee for Group Review. The stiff penalty was the result of previous action imposed on the sorority in a hazing incident in 1998.
The names of the students facing judicial referrals cannot be release, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA), said Dr. Donald Peters, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.
Peters also said that the university wanted to insure the public that college officials are vigilant in their efforts to maintain a hazard-free environment for students on campus and in the larger community and that they would not excuse such actions by its students.
Peters said, “Hazing is a serious problem facing many colleges. At Plattsburgh State, we will increase our efforts to make our students aware of what constitutes hazing and the consequences of their actions. I hope our students will learn and grow from this incident.”
It could take two to three weeks before the judicial disciplinary process is completed.