Cheer penalty lessened
The cheerleading team’s appeal of their one-year suspension was partially successful following a review of by a Student Appeals Committee.
Instead of being banned from all team activities for the entire 2013-14 academic year, the team is now under social probation for the fall semester, according to a release sent out by the University on Tuesday.
Social probation allows the team to practice during the fall semester but the not to represent the University at any University or off-campus events, including athletic events.
Vice President for Student Affairs Deb Moriarty said the committee modified the suspension because the cheerleading team did not have adequate education on the hazing policy.
“We educate student groups, greek groups, sports clubs and other organizations [on the hazing policy],” Moriarty said. “The cheerleaders seem to have fallen through the cracks.”
All athletic teams have also been educated on the hazing policies, Moriarty said. However, cheerleading is not considered an athletic team.
The social probation lasts until Dec. 18, according to the Director of University Communications and Media Relations Ray Feldmann.
Members of the cheerleading team declined to comment on the ruling.
After the team turned in the paperwork for the official appeal last Tuesday, the Student Appeals Committee, made up of four faculty members, two staff members and two students, reviewed the appeal as well as the original case presented by the University.
“I think the appeal process went the way we designed it to work,” Moriarty said. “We found the modifications to be acceptable because hazing is not allowed and will not be tolerated on campus. I think the team learned a really hard lesson from this situation.”
According to Moriarty, the University will not comment on which specific part of the hazing policy the team violated because the team still has the possibility to appeal the most recent ruling to University President Maravene Loeschke.
The team is also required to complete 650 hours of community service by the end of the fall semester, and documentation of the service must be submitted to the University by Jan. 17, 2014.
Looking at the punishment as a whole, freshman Christina Willingham said it is more fitting than the year-long suspension.
“I guess they have to pay for what they did,” Willingham said. “I think them being able to practice is good as well though because they need to be able to keep up with what they’re doing for next semester. I think that their punishment was reasonable and justified.”
While some incidents involve only a few individuals, Moriarty said the whole team was put on probation because most of the members of the team were present during the incident in question.
No matter what kind of hazing took place, senior deaf studies major Erika Ellis said other groups on campus should learn from the team’s mistakes.
“Hazing is a big deal. They know better,” she said. “You’re at Towson. You should know better not to be hazing. I guess they have to pay for what they did.”
-Megan Flannery contributed to this article.