Following a campus investigation, the University of California, Santa Barbara has taken punitive actions against the women's lacrosse club team for engaging in activities that were in violation of the campus's anti-hazing regulations.
The investigation followed the recent disclosure on an Internet site of photographs from a 2004 party showing members of the team engaging in activities that appeared to be in violation of UCSB's anti-hazing rules. As a result of their inquiry, the campus officials involved in the investigation concluded
"that hazing was, indeed, occurring in the pictures posted on the Internet, and that it also occurred in the subsequent two years as a kick-off to the lacrosse season."
While the investigation found that the activities amounted to "low-level" hazing, they were in violation of the university's rules. As a result, the team has been issued the following sanctions, which take effect with the official start of the new academic year on July 1:
- The women's lacrosse team will be placed on general probationary status. Should the team be found in violation of any campus policies or regulations in the future, this current incident will be taken into consideration and more stringent disciplinary action will be pursued including possible permanent suspension of the team.
- The women's lacrosse team will be placed on social probation for the entire 2006-2007 academic year. Social probation prohibits the team from engaging in any social activities as a group.
- The women's lacrosse team will perform 30 hours of community service by the end of winter quarter 2007.
"When we first learned of the existence of the pictures on the Internet, we indicated to the campus, the public, and the media that we would undertake a thorough review and that the response to our findings would be thoughtful, measured, and appropriate," said UCSB Dean of Students Yonie Harris, who supervised the investigation. "These sanctions reflect that commitment."
Harris made a point of noting that the team had been "extremely cooperative, candid, and forthright" during the course of the investigation and "provided us with honest responses to our questions."
Harris also said that changes would be made to how students are informed of the campus's anti-hazing regulations. At the start of every season, all of UCSB's club teams are provided with information about hazing, campus prohibitions against it, and the consequences of violating those policies. "We will redesign this entire presentation so that there is absolutely no confusion about the kinds of activities that constitute hazing," said Harris.
Campus officials began their investigation two weeks ago after learning about the photos from a 2004 women's lacrosse team party that had appeared on an Internet site called BadJocks.com. Although the team's season had already concluded, the team was placed on temporary suspension and prohibited from engaging in any team-related social or other activities while the investigation was being conducted.