Brown Extends Suspension After Concluding Hazing Investigation

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.

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A non-e mouse

Hazing is such a murky issue… but some part of me thinks this is a little bit of an overreaction based on things that don’t strike me as particularly bad.

Stankgal

Well maybe you have not been HAZED. I would much rather be tazed again than hazed. Hazing can result in potentially irreversible psychotic psychological trauma. Just look at Jeffery Dahmer. He was hazed and it ended badly for most of his victims and him. These Brown Men are in need of extreme treatment. I am pleased Brown University is standing tall. These young quasi-criminal types need be mindful they are missing a few team functions; a minor slap. Perhaps when the investigation is complete there will be financial restitution and prison time for the ringleaders.

Swammer

First of all tazed again? Must be quite a back story. Second, please don’t refer to them as criminals. Yes hazing is bad but don’t put it in the same ballpark as capital offenses.

Stankgal

Yes tazed as a part of hazing in the military. I had the choice of chugging a bottle of scotch or being tazed. I do suffer PTSD from combat experience In Somalia and Iraq.

Theroboticrichardsimmons

I heard that the US military was suspended from all miltiary activities for an entire year, with another year of probation where they could train but not take part in any military activities representing the United States of America. (There were a lot if “unattached” armies fighting in wars that year)

You know, punishment proportional to what the Brown swim team is facing.

Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger

These poor kids. Back in my day, we could be needlessly cruel to our younger team members with no repercussions, and we were allowed to convince ourselves of the insane delusion that it was somehow *good* for team morale.

Life just isn’t the same as the good ol’ days when I could mistreat anyone around me without getting in any trouble. These millennials and their idea that they’re entitled to a life of not being forced to binge drink to unconsciousness to stay on the swim team.

Yozhik

I witnessed hazing in the military. The only thing that helped victims to go through that were thoughts that in a year they will be in the position to do same things to others. (It wasn’t US Army)

A non-e mouse

I have actually personally experienced hazing much worse than what has been described in this, and I still believe that this is an overreaction based on what happened. Simply put the punishment does not match the crime

Coach John

Dahmer played tennis at a low level and there are no records of hazing being a result of his issues. he had multiple personality issues with a lot of neglect as a child that started much before his minimal athletic career. (I did a study on him in high school years ago…)

Jay ryan

Jeffrey Dahmer swam at Brown?

Stankgal

If you did due diligence you would find that while in grammar school Dahmer was constantly bullied. He wet his bed until 12 as result of that fact. One of the lead psychologists at his trial (for the defense) Dr Hickman Soulder stated the bullying was one of several factors which ultimately lead him to the sado-psychotic mania.

John

Are you confusing hazing with bullying now? I simply replied to your allegations of him being hazed in a sporting sense (he was not) you can change the subject if you like. You are right about him st 12…

Sum Ting Wong

A high school study ! Powerful answer there mate .

John

I’m a simple swimming coach, what do you want of me? Find a PHD to validate my reply? It’s the Internet there mate, enjoy it.

Swimming Fan

I don’t understand the discipline because they are penalizing those who were hazed, those who may not have been involved in the hazing and the incoming recruits. Why not simply suspend those involved in the hazing? Do you think that if there was hazing of some football players that the university would suspend the entire team and forfeit scheduled games?

West Coast Swammer

My heart goes out to the freshmen swimmers. They got hit twice – first as the victims of hazing and now the suspension. They are getting robbed of what should be an awesome time of their lives, to what I believe is no fault of their own. I think they should be allowed to transfer without losing any eligibility, maybe even including this past year. From what I’ve read, this isn’t as bad as the hazing that went on “back in the day” – and it frankly lacked creativity. But I suppose we need to let Brown analyze this from their standards, and I can’t judge this by what was deemed ok a few decades ago. Again, I just feel… Read more »

AquaTiger

No offense, but you dont go to Brown to swim. No one is transferring because they can’t swim at Brown. I agree that this whole thing is tough, and double tough on the freshman.

Lpman

Aaaaaand cue the alcohol isn’t a big deal and entitled ivy kids comments…

Dudeman

It really isn’t if you are drinking responsibility, it is a big deal in situations where individuals are forced to drink when they don’t want to, or are forced to drink more than they feel comfortable with.

Go Bearcats

The “entitled ivy kids” have a right to try and defend themselves.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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