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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Women’s rugby under investigation for hazing

Photo by Trebor Maitin for The Lafayette
The women’s rugby team faces a freezing of funds if the hazing allegations are proven true.

The women’s club rugby team has been suspended after Public Safety opened an investigation into alleged instances of hazing.

According to Public Safety Director Jeff Troxell, a hazing report was filed against the team on Oct. 19 for an incident that allegedly occurred on the night of Oct. 14. An investigation was opened and a suspension was issued within one day of the report being filed, according to dean of students Brian Samble.

“We’re smack dab in the middle of the investigation,” Troxell said. 

Many members of the campus community, ranging from club rugby members to outside sources, have been interviewed by Public Safety and other internal investigators.

“I don’t have a specific number but [investigators have spoken to] many, many individuals,” Troxell said.

One first-year member of the rugby team confirmed that she and her other first-year teammates were interviewed for an hour on Monday and said that investigators appeared to know “every single small detail” about the incident.

“What bothered me the most about this whole situation is whoever reported it to [Public Safety] didn’t talk to any of the upperclassmen or the captains before,” the first-year team member, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “They didn’t express at any point in the night that they felt uncomfortable. They didn’t say no to anything. They just immediately went to [Public Safety] right after.”

The first-year member of the team, who was not permitted to speak about the investigation, denied that hazing occurred.

“There was no point in the night where we couldn’t say, ‘Oh, I feel uncomfortable,’” she said.

Lafayette’s Sports Clubs Manual defines hazing as “any act committed against a student who is trying to join a team that is humiliating, demeaning or endangers the student’s health and safety … regardless of consent or willingness to participate.”

According to a former team member who wished to remain anonymous, new members last year went through an initiation process in which first-year team members were blindfolded and driven to what they were told was an alumnae’s house but ended up being the team’s suite in Marquis Hall. At the house, new members were told to drink a beer and were quizzed on rugby regulations and drug use abstention before they met their “bigs” – upperclassmen who act as mentors – and were officially welcomed to the team. 

“I never really felt pressured to drink by them,” the former team member said. “It felt more like everyone was drinking, so you kind of felt like you should be drinking [too], but no one directly said, ‘You have to drink this.’”

According to the Sports Clubs Manual, merely encouraging anyone in a club sport to consume alcohol is considered hazing.

The first-year member of the team summarized the expectations regarding the event as, “We’re going to tell you to do it, but you can say no.” She did not characterize the experience as an initiation, instead referring to it as an event to get a “big sister.”

Troxell declined to confirm whether or not the investigation involved alcohol violations. 

“I don’t want to compromise the investigation,” he said. “There are things that are reported to us, [that] if taken at face value, there may have been a violation of the law, but that’s the part we can’t speculate on … We have to find the facts of what’s been reported to us and follow the lead and see where it takes us.”

Nonu Raizada ‘26, another former member of the team, said that she did not go through an initiation process as described by the anonymous former team member.

Should the team be found to have hazed, according to the Sports Clubs Manual, it will have the remainder of its practices, competitions and funding for the year canceled and the possibility of further disciplinary action being pursued.

According to Christo Maheras ‘26, the chairman of the Student Government Student Organizations Committee, Student Government might consider freezing the team’s funds or club status if the hazing allegations are proven true, though he pointed to Recreation Services as the most relevant authority on the matter.

Several current and former members of the team declined to comment, some stating that they were not permitted to speak on the issue. The team’s coach and a representative from Recreation Services, which oversees club sports, also declined to comment.

Correction 11/3/2023: A previous version of this article misstated where the blindfolded team members were taken.

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About the Contributors
Selma O'Malley, News Editor
Waiting for someone to write a sitcom about a college newspaper.
Trebor Maitin, Managing Editor
Pennsylvania enthusiast.

Comments (5)

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  • J

    John ZaleNov 3, 2023 at 10:52 am

    This is absolutely insane that this is an investigation. Every campus organization drinks and the article states that they weren’t forced. Also it’s so weird that Troxell is investigating this as if his daughter wasn’t the biggest hazer in Lafayette history.

    • S

      Steve LapatomioNov 3, 2023 at 8:54 pm

      Hardcore cope, John.

    • M

      Margaret LawsonNov 4, 2023 at 10:25 am

      Pointing fingers is not a quality reply.
      Lafayette College is a fine Institution !! I came to Lafayette with my husband. Bill Lawson in 1976 so he could Coach Swimming. We were only planning to stay for a few years.
      Bill retired from Lafayette in 2002 as the Men’s Lacrosse Coach. I watch carefully most of the Athletic Programs. May the School and the Coaches set the ‘Tone” for what happens.
      My best to all who may be involved with this and maybe Other Sports at LAFAYETTE.
      Go Leopards from an “84” year old ‘fan’
      Margaret “Peggy” Lawson

      • S

        Sam GregoryNov 4, 2023 at 4:24 pm

        I dont know if the mens Lacrosse team is the best example Peggy considering they killed a freshman with alcohol in 2017 and faced no repercussions. Seems a little insane that they are going after the most diverse team on Lafayette’s campus for having drinking at a party

        • S

          Steve LapatomioNov 7, 2023 at 12:41 pm

          Thanks for the input, Sam. Very astute.