Amidst the near-daily horror stories of sorority hazing, you don't hear nearly as much about instances of female sports team hazing—but step aside, Duke lax.
Every junior player and all but one senior player have been suspended from the high-ranked Division III women's lacrosse team at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania due to allegations of hazing during an event called Freshman Fun Night over a year ago. The incident was brought to the authorities' attention by former player Paige Burns, who was reportedly cut in February. After her account was confirmed by multiple sources, the coach, Lauren Paul, was fired and disciplinary action was taken against most of the team members.
Burns was reportedly unwilling to go through with what she was asked to do at the event, which led to her being axed from the team. The "fun" activities (which were entirely student-planned with no college affiliation) included:
the forced consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol and events of a sexual nature, including being blindfolded and having semen sprayed at [the freshmen].
That Paige Burns. What a BUZZKILL, amirite?
Burns' allegations were contradicted by eight other players present, including two freshmen, who claimed that they were only indulging in bonding activities like egg racing and all of the activities were voluntary. It's more likely to assume that the "snitches get stitches" mentality is alive and well. Since the incident, certain students have left the college altogether, and the players who remain are uncertain whether they will return to the team next year.
Meanwhile, former lax coach Paul, who led the team to win the N.C.A.A. championship in 2009, says she has no idea why she was fired, as she had nothing to do with Freshman Fun Night, and plans on countering with a lawsuit against Franklin & Marshall on the basis of defamation and sexual discrimination.
Although the spokesperson for the college declined to articulate what was believed to have taken place in the end and which individuals were involved, representative Cass Cliat told the New York Times:
Unfortunately, there seems to be the perception that hazing should be O.K. up to the point of a serious tragedy, including the death of a student. We do not feel that an institution should wait for that type of tragedy to take place before taking action.
The president of Franklin & Marshall, Daniel R. Portersfeld, said in a statement that he was "satisfied that the college conducted a thorough and fair investigation, and [strongly supports] the decisions."
'Lacrosse Program Shaken by Hazing Inquiry' [The New York Times]
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