The men’s club hockey team’s five-year suspension was reduced to three years Wednesday following an appeal to the Office of Student Life.
In addition to the suspension, the team will also serve two years of probation, ending in fall 2017, and all members of the 2015-16 team will be required to participate in anti-hazing and alcohol awareness education programming.
“This is in the range of what’s been done historically in past hazing incidents,” said Shaun Holtgreive, interim director of Student Life. “The university takes a harsh stand when it comes to hazing … unfortunately, it’s a slippery slope that gets out of hand in a hurry, especially when alcohol is involved.”
Senior team president Matt Cinader met with members of the appeal board Wednesday and proposed the team’s self-imposed educational and remedial sanctions.
The proposal included a suspension of 10 games through Oct. 31, three years of probation, the resignation of Cinader and vice president Ricky Jones, and regularly scheduled meetings between the Office of Student Life and club hockey leadership for the remainder of the probationary period.
The team also proposed training and presentations on anti-hazing and alcohol awareness for its members and annual education orientation of new hockey club members.
“I thought the hearing itself went well,” Cinader said. “The administrators listened well and paid attention. I presented our self-imposed remedial sanctions; they didn’t say too much about them. We appreciate the university reevaluating us and reducing the sanctions, but we still feel the new three-year sanction is incorrect and (we) do plan on appealing the three-year sanction.”
The original five-year suspension was handed out by the Office of Student life Sept. 28 after the team was found in violation of section 3.2.13 (alcohol policy), section 3.2.19 (hazing) and section 3.2.25 (violations by a registered student organization of the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Disciplinary Procedures).
CMU began investigating the team following a Sept. 14 party at the Deerfield Road home of several team players. Photos of the event were collected from players’ Facebook pages and presented at the original hearing.
Although the whole team wasn’t in attendance at the party, and multiple players allegedly left before the hazing took place, Holtgreive said this is still a common penalty in hazing cases.
“Generally, when an organization has an issue, the sanctions are against the whole organization, regardless if everyone was involved, and it’s seldom that 100 percent of the group is there,” he said.
Sophomore Nolan LeClaire is a first-year player who attended the party and said he wasn’t pushed to drink, he previously told Central Michigan Life.
“The rookies (in attendance) were called upstairs and (the veterans) gave us thongs and the rookies laughed and threw them on,” he said. “As far as drinking goes, I wasn’t forced to drink and nobody encouraged or pressured me to drink.”
Jones, also team captain, said the club hockey team doesn’t plan on giving up its case yet.
“The self-imposed educational sanctions we submitted were in line with previous cases and precedent, and we plan to take the next step in the appeal process,” he said.
Club hockey has a final chance at appealing its sentence, this time to Steven Johnson, vice president for enrollment and student services.
“They can appeal one more time, and just like what happened in this one, sanctions could be made harsher,” Holtgreive said. “If they appeal this, it could be changed in severity, either direction.”