Brown University has handed out its final report from the investigation into hazing allegations made against the men’s varsity swimming & diving teams. While the school says they are limited in details they can disclosed because of “University policies and federal laws,” they did confirm that the team was found responsible, in its capacity as a student organization, for multiple violations of Brown’s Code of Student Conduct (which can be read here).
The event in question relate to an October 2017 incident, where the school says its investigation turned up both hazing and alcohol violations, which was then compounded by “misrepresenting information” to university officials. The latter involves a recording given to the Brown student paper where a team captain is heard telling members of the team that “there’s things that are out there that could be damaging, it’s just about how we spin it right now.”
Brown already withdrew its men’s team from the 2018 Ivy League Championships and all other season-ending meets after early findings from the investigation (they didn’t have any swimmers with NCAA Championship qualifying times), and Brown has now announced that the program is prohibited from any team activities through May 27th, 2018.
Further, the team will be issued a “deferred suspension” through the end of the Fall, 2018 academic semester: December 21st, 2018. The team is allowed to practice and participate in all team activities except for representing the university in athletics competition – which means no meets during the fall semester. The team will remain on probation through May 26th, 2019, the end of the spring semester. During that period, they will be allowed to resume competition, but under “close scrutiny from the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.” The team will not be allowed to take any training trips during that period.
Any further violations, the school says, could lead to further sanctions.
Aside from the athletic restrictions and requirements, the “team will also be required to develop both an organizational learning and development plan, and a strategic plan for rebuilding, before its full reinstatement. This work will be done in close collaboration with team coaches and staff from Brown Athletics.”
The original allegations involved an evening of drinking and other activities including smashing bottles of Smirnoff Ice against a statue on campus. The original reports included a reference to two new team members who vomited due to drinking that night, and a member of the women’s team said that she was told that EMS was called. While no swimmers have disputed that members of the team vomited from drinking that night, several members of both the men’s and women’s teams have disputed that any medical attention was needed or that EMS was called on the evening in question.
Brown University’s full press release and statement:
Men’s varsity swimming and diving team suspended following investigation into hazing allegations.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University is making available the following statement regarding the conclusion and outcome of an investigation launched in November 2017 into allegations of hazing against the men’s varsity swimming and diving team. Disclosure of further details is limited by University policies and federal laws that protect the privacy of student records.
University Statement: March 9, 2018
After a comprehensive investigation into allegations of hazing and the conclusion of the full student conduct review process, the Brown University men’s varsity swimming and diving team, in its capacity as a student organization, had been found responsible for multiple violations of Brown’s Code of Student Conduct.
The charges for which the team was deemed responsible relate to an October 2017 incident, which the investigation determined to include both hazing and alcohol violations. In addition, the team was found responsible for misrepresenting information about the incident to university officials. Given the utmost seriousness with whichBrown takes hazing incidents, and its expectation that students act with integrity and honesty during the course of an investigation, a number of sanctions will be imposed on the team.
With the full student conduct review process now complete, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards informed team leaders on Friday, March 9, of the following sanctions:
–Brown has suspended the men’s swimming and diving team, in its capacity as a student organization, throughMay 27, 2018. This suspension prohibits team activity of any kind.
–In addition, Brown issued the team a deferred suspension through Dec. 21, 2018, the final day of the Fall 2018 academic semester. During the period of deferred suspension, the team is prohibited from representing the University in athletics competition. The team can participate in other activities, including practices. If, during this period, the team does not abide by the Brown community’s expectations of behavior as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, other penalties that extend beyond the Fall 2018 academic semester may be applied.
–Finally, the team will remain on probation through the culmination of Spring 2019 semester on May 26, 2019. While the team can resume athletics competition during this period, it will do so under close scrutiny from the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Some activities, including travel for out-of-state training, will be restricted.
The team will also be required to develop both an organizational learning and development plan, and a strategic plan for rebuilding, before its full reinstatement. This work will be done in close collaboration with team coaches and staff from Brown Athletics.
Brown’s policies regarding matters of student conduct and discipline protect the privacy of student records, andfederal law limits when details related to student conduct investigations of specific individuals may be disclosed. However, the University wants to make it clear unequivocally that in addition to sanctions imposed upon the team, in its capacity as a student organization, individual students found responsible for code violations are subject to sanctions as well. For any student(s) found responsible, the University ensures that responsible parties are held accountable. The Student Conduct and Community Standards website outlines the various sanctions for violations of the conduct code.
As noted upon the launch of the investigation, the University educates all students regarding the policy on hazing through its Code of Student Conduct. In particular, as a requirement for athletic participation, every student athlete must review Brown’s hazing policy and attest in writing that they understand and commit to adhering to the policy. Separately, all student athletes must attend an NCAA compliance meeting with their team. And Athletics administrators meet with team leaders to discuss policies, including hazing, and their roles as team leaders. Other training programs include discussions on responsible use of social media and the dangers of hazing. Early this fall, in response to national attention to issues of hazing, a working group of administrators began work on a proactive review and discussion of Brown’s resources and practices related to hazing.
All of these efforts will continue as Brown works to prevent any instance of hazing involving members of the University community.