Vick Issues Final Decision in Hockey Hazing Case
YPSILANTI - The hockey club at Eastern Michigan University may return to the ice next season as long as its members fulfill conditions related to sanctions that were issued Tuesday in the final decision of their hazing case.
Sanctions include: the suspension of the current season; a deferred suspension with no post season league participation for the 2004-05 season; a written apology to the EMU community; 20 hours of community service for each club member; a $1,000 donation to a charitable organization whose mission is violence prevention; players and coaches conducting one educational class on hazing; and disciplinary probation until March 2007.
The decision was the result of two hearings in the student judicial process that found that the members of the hockey club had violated EMU's Student Conduct Code by participating in hazing of new players. The student conduct code violation charges stemmed from a EMU Department of Public Safety incident report.
In the final step of the student judicial process, Jim Vick, vice president of student affairs for EMU, issued the decision and notified the club.
"The university is taking this action in hopes of changing the prevailing culture of the team but not eliminating the hockey club," Vick wrote in the rationale for the sanctions.
"A decision in this matter must strike an appropriate balance between the necessary level of discipline to impress upon the players and the coaches the inappropriateness and seriousness of their behavior and to bring about a change in the team culture that previous disciplinary sanctions failed to do. At the same time we want to preserve a successful hockey program that in many respects is a source of pride to the institution."
Vick approved four of the eight sanctions without change. He amended the suspension of the team from two years, as prescribed by the judicial appeals board, to the remainder of this season. He also reduced the deferred suspension from two years to no post season participation for 2004-05. That means the club can play next season, provided it meets the conditions of the sanctions, but could not play in the post season.
While some have criticized the sanctions as "harsh," Vick reaffirmed the student judicial services position that the action taken is reasonable considering the club was already on deferred suspension for a previous incident. The club failed to fulfill sanctions from a University Judicial Board ruling stemming from an incident in 2001.
"The purpose of the Student Conduct Code is to maintain a campus environment that is conducive to learning, protects the university's educational purposes, maintains reasonable order on campus and protects the rights of all members of the University community," Vick wrote. "The Student Conduct Code and the accompanying student disciplinary processes are intended to foster ethical development, personal accountability and civility toward others."
Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.
Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.