Men's club hockey team to appeal five-year suspension Wednesday; rookies deny hazing
The Office of Student Life will listen to the men's club hockey team’s appeal of its five-year suspension at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Associate Director of Residence Life Shaun Holtgreive, who holds interim responsibilities in the Office of Student Life, declined comment on the appeals process Tuesday.
“Since their appeal is tomorrow, we’re not at a position to have a public discussion prior to their last part of the due process,” Holtgreive said. “I don’t want to anyway hurt their having a fair appeal process.”
The appeal was originally scheduled for Oct. 12, but was postponed due to an emergency by a member of the hearing body.
“The code was very specific as to who has to serve on that,” Holtgreive said. “(The hearing board) comprises of the student body president, or their designee, the chair of the Academic Senate, or their designee, and the vice president of enrollment and student services, or their designee.”
Club hockey 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) 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 multiple players. Photos of the event were posted on players’ Facebook pages, which were presented during the initial hearing.
Sophomore Nolan LeClaire was a first-year player who attended the Sept. 14 party.
“The rookies (in attendance) were called upstairs and (the veterans) gave us thongs and the rookies laughed and threw them on,” he said. “I’ll speak for myself, and what I believe is the rest of the rookies, it was just fun and games and we had a dance off.”
LeClaire said the first-year players who wore thongs were not forced to, nor were they forced to drink.
“As far as drinking goes, I wasn’t forced to drink and nobody encouraged or pressured me to drink,” he said. “All of the veterans were cool with the fact that I don’t drink alcohol. It’s a young team, but we’re like a family.”
Freshman Zach Carr, another first-year player who attended the party, said he wasn’t forced to stay or drink.
“From what we know, and what our players told us, nobody said they were uncomfortable,” Carr said. “I didn’t feel uncomfortable; my twin brother (Tyler Carr) said he wasn’t uncomfortable. I wasn’t pressured to do anything; it was all under my own will.”
LeClaire and Carr both said several players on the team weren’t present for the party, and some players left prior to they when were given the thongs.
Team captain Ricky Jones said every player on the team had an individual sit-down conversation with various staff members and were asked to explain what happened at the party.
Prior to the team’s hearing, players wrote individual letters to Assistant Director of Student Life Tom Idema.
“Basically I wrote, 'yeah, what we did was a mistake on our part and we’d do what we could to get it back',” Carr said. “I don’t know what I’d do without hockey. I’ve played for 14 years and it’s a lifestyle. We pretty much begged them to give us a second chance.”
Holtgreive said an appeal decision can take anywhere from hours to days while past precedents are reviewed.