Women's lacrosse caught hazing


By Jesse Lewis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Team put on probation for banana ╬blow job'

The women's lacrosse team was charged with hazing after a team member reported she had to act out a blow job on a banana.

Veda Kowalski, associate dean of students, said a member of the team reported that she thought she had been hazed one month ago, after she was told to demonstrate a blow job on a banana, drink even though she was underage, and eat pudding from its container on the ground.

The five new team members who were hazed by returning members also had to run a relay race and dance.

The team has been put on probation for one calendar year. Members must complete 100 hours of community service, and create an anti-hazing project they will present to the Dean of Students Office.

Although they cannot participate in social activities for club sports, they can practice and compete as of today.

While the team was awaiting its sanction, it was suspended from all privileges, including anything affiliated with the school ¸ more specifically, use of all university fields. Today will be the first practice for the team in a month.

Last year, the Dean of Students Office cracked down on hazing, handing sanctions to six fraternities and Chain Gang Junior Honorary. The women's lacrosse team is the first club sports team to be charged with hazing since the Dean of Students Office began strict enforcement of policies.

Mary O'Mahoney, director of club sports at the Student Recreation Center, said she feels like hazing is going on in club sports, but it's hard to know about it when no one says anything.

"(The lacrosse incident) is the first that has come to light in a long time," she said.

All teams review the subject of hazing when they start their seasons.

"You tell them it's not legal, you tell them it's not allowed, you tell them about the repercussions. But when they keep quiet about it, it's hard to know it's going on," O'Mahoney said.

The club president, Kathleen Skinner, along with the team's coach and team members, refused to comment on the situation.

"We're just going to lay low on this," Skinner said.

Chimes Junior Honorary was also accused of hazing this semester after a passer-by saw members of Chimes running around with blindfolds and jumping into the fountain at Old Main late at night and reported it to the Dean of Students Office.

The Dean of Students Office has ruled out hazing, but is investigating whether the activities were unsafe.

Stephen Sosnicki, president of Chimes, said the incident was not hazing because all members of the group were participating.

"It was a social event for the club, not an initiation where membership was contingent on participation," he said.

The UA's hazing policy states an action is hazing if the "act was committed in connection with an initiation into, an affiliation with, or the maintenance of membership in any organization that is affiliated with the university."

Chimes cannot hold any social events until the issue is resolved; the investigation is in progress. The process takes a long time because only one person is assigned to work on it.

Possible sanctions for unsafe activities are dependent on each case and can range from a warning to a loss of recognition. Punishment cannot be determined until the case is fully investigated by the Dean of Students Office.