The Central Michigan University men’s club hockey team will be back on the ice for the 2013-14 academic year after originally being dealt a four-year ban in September.
Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Steven Johnson reduced the team’s sanctions in a letter to the team on Nov. 14–the final decision in the appeals process.
“The university originally asked for a four-year suspension, and the hearing panel decided on a five-year suspension,” former Assistant Director of Student Life Tom Idema said. “The team appealed it, and the sanction was changed to three years with a bunch of educational trainings. They then went to the final step, which was to ask Steven Johnson for a review of the case, which he chose to do, and he came up with the final decision.”
The club will not be able to partake in club activities such as events, tournaments and competitions for the remainder of the 2012-13 academic year.
Although the team will be able to compete next season, it will be banned from postseason play for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years.
“I don’t think (Johnson) felt it was appropriate to punish those who aren’t even here yet without another hockey team for them to join,” Idema said. “The difference (between club hockey and a Greek organization) is if you want to join the hockey team, there’s only one.”
In addition to the suspension, the club must complete anti-hazing and alcohol awareness training programs and provide a public acknowledgement via Central Michigan Life.
“I thought Mr. Johnson put forth fair and well-thought-out final sanctions,” team president Matt Cinader said. “I think we will be smarter in the future obviously, and I hope that we can move forward and continue to keep a positive relationship with the school and the Office of Student Life.”
The Ortonville senior said the team’s letter of public acknowledgment is under review by the OSL.
“Any further violations of the code of conduct will result in a permanent dismissal of the club,” Johnson said in his letter to the team.
The club hockey team was originally charged Sept. 28 with violation of section 3.2.13 (alcohol policy), section 3.2.19 (hazing) and section 3.2.25 (violations by a registered student organization).
An investigation by the OSL was initiated after it received Facebook photos of a party at the home of multiple players on Deerfield Road.
“Going back to how it was reported, certainly the party was a part of it, but it wasn’t just a one-night thing,” Idema said. “We also had evidence of issues in past years; there’s a culture of this going on, and that’s one of the dangers of hazing.”
Idema said other incidents have occurred during which embarrassing photos were taken of players that might be detrimental to their futures if made public.
“Some people want to be a part of something so badly that they put themselves through something that they shouldn’t have to,” Idema said. “If you’re fighting for playing time, if you want to fit in, you’ll do things there’s no way you’d do by yourself.”
Cinader said the club team is important to CMU but is even more important to the community.
“Since there is no varsity team at CMU, it is very important that we are around,” he said. “Not only for the school, but for the ice arena and the youth hockey program in Mount Pleasant. I believe they look up to us, and it is important that we act in a positive manner to help these young kids want to play hockey at CMU.”
Leaders of the hockey team will work with the OSL in the upcoming months to decide on the programming to be used to educate current and future club members on hazing and alcohol awareness.