Castleton’s men’s rugby team has been suspended for one year due to a hazy hazing incident.
The alleged hazing incident was reported this past fall, but reportedlyhad taken place in the spring of 2013, school officials said. Athletic Director Deanna Tyson made the final decision to suspend the team.
“A year suspension is very fair,” said Tyson in a Feb. 10 interview.
The topic was brought to the school’sattention when (a) former Castleton student Evan Hallwrote an effective speaking speech on things that “make you for the better.”Hallhad said that being on the men’s rugby team made him better. What was unexpected was the teacher demanded it be reported at once, for that hazing that was being implied.
“I did not intend for the events following to unfold. Sorry I am unavailable to talk in person, personally I want to forget about it all,” Hallsaid
The issue was first brought to Public Safety’s attentionfor further investigation. After a process of meetings, it was decided that, “hazing did indeed take place,” said Tyson. “Numerous people, ‘the rookies’ were involved.”
Captain of the team, Dan Beauregard, explained that in the investigation, it was determined that there was no participation option in the rituals, even though he says there was.
“It was implied that there wasn’t, even though there was an option … We are not denying that we messed up, all we can do now is solve the problem instead of waiting a year,” said Beauregard.
Dean of Students Dennis Proulx attended the meetings for professional reasons, but had no official rule in the decision. He said he believed that students simply don’t know or understand what hazing is, until it’s too late.
“Any organizational development initiation can easily get to a level of hazing … and I think what happens over time is what starts as ritual or as team building morphs sometimes into hazing and they don’t see it coming,” Proulx said.
Beauregard said that his team has already begun (to take action in) an appeal process to reducetheir suspension. The appeal process consists of positive activities such as community service and hazing education, according to both Tyson and Beauregard.
“We know she (Tyson) was just doing her job … We are doing the process now and trying to solve the problem,” Beauregard said.
Sophomore Taylor Noonan expressed his disappointment and frustration with the suspension as well.
“I’m sad they took away the sport that I love,” said Noonan.
The decision wasn’t easy for Tyson either.
“It’s disappointing. I really enjoy working with both rugby teams,” said Tyson sadly.