Towson Hazing No Tolerance; Cheerleaders Suspended

    September 1, 2013
    Kristen M. Foster
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Thursday, officials from Towson University announced a one-year suspension for the Towson Tigers cheerleading squad as punishment for allegedly disobeying Towson’s hazing policies. An anonymous tip sparked an investigation earlier this month. Towson was founded in 1866 and is located eight miles north of Baltimore, Maryland.

“Hazing in any form will not be tolerated at Towson University,” vice president for student affairs, Deb Moriarty vowed. Moriarty explained that more information was being withheld to protect students’ privacy and rights, “that includes their right to appeal the suspension.” The head cheerleading coach, Edy Pratt, was instructed not to comment.

The cheerleading team took first place in April at the National Cheerleaders Association’s collegiate championship. That win gave them an automatic place in this year’s competition however, performances at competitions and athletic events, as well as practices, are forbidden with the suspension. The team can appeal through next week. Moriarty says the university will look to its fan development program to carry the spirit at events.

Suspension of an entire team may be the exception, not the rule, according to Jim Lord, executive director of the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators. “I have never heard of a whole team getting suspended.”

Universities have long struggled with hazing on teams and at sororities and fraternities. In 2011, a Florida A&M drum major, Robert Champion, died due to a hazing incident. The band will make its comeback on Sunday after two years of reorganization following Champion’s death. The University initiated several standards designed to prevent future hazing tragedies including a new code of conduct, anti-hazing research and refreshed reporting and investigating protocols.

HazingPrevention.Org, a 5-year-old group whose mission is to empower people to prevent college and university hazing, is currently sponsoring the fourth running of #40 Answers 2013 a Twitter-based campaign that precedes National Hazing Prevention Week, September 23-27. The Week is also sponsored by HPO, which was originated when the Association of Fraternity Advisors decided a national symposium on the issue was warranted.

[Image via Towson University website.]

  • libertyanne

    Hazing is disgusting and cruel. And it’s not even needed for ANYTHING. Doing it doesn’t prove you are superior it proves you’re a bully and you belong in jail. I hope some of her tough girl skills will come in handy. She’ll need them.

  • Crazy

    They are girls and girls in America never really get in trouble. They are always given a free pass. If you are a woman in America, you practically have to kill someone before you see a jail and even then, it will take some effort.

    It is very evident how unfair the legal system is. A woman can sleep with an underage student and get pregnant. Yet, she will be given a misdemeanor or a short amount of jail time. If a guy did this, he would be labeled a child molester, given several felonies, receive decades in prison, and have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Furthermore, if a young guy chooses to sleep with an older woman, he is considered lucky. If a young girl chooses to sleep with an older guy, she is considered victimized.

    The double standard is so hypocritical. Nothing will happen to these cheerleaders.

  • Charles Thornton

    My generation truely are “The New Puritans”

    Leave the damn Cheerleaders alone!