"After further investigation Carleton University has concluded that the Women’s Soccer team engaged in rookie hazing activities involving serious alcohol abuse. The team has acknowledged this to be the case and has accepted responsibility for it.Well, that is that, then. A couple points for chewing over:
"The university has concluded that the two-game suspension already served by the team was an appropriate penalty and the team will resume regular play this Wednesday against the University of Ottawa. Further disciplinary measures will be handled internally."
- This has been, all along, a story about student safety, not sports.
There could be some heightened sensitivity within Carleton's administration, given two awful news stories from within the past two years. The university just paid an out-of-court settlement to a woman who was sexually assaulted while working late in a school lab and sued the school.
In 2008, the family of 18-year-old suicide victim Nadia Kajouji criticized Carleton for not telling them "she had expressed suicidal thoughts and had been on antidepressants." (Toronto Star, April 23, 2008.) The university's defence was that "privacy laws prevented counsellors from contacting the girl's parents earlier."
It seems pertinent because we are talking about an instance where a young person suffered physical harm.
- This really gets into to what extent a college or university is a student's keeper. How far does it have to go in providing a safe environment?
- Some will wonder how having the next game against Ottawa played into the decision to reinstate the team. It is hard to believe it would have that much sway, although there were comments in the press box at Ottawa's football game last Saturday when the soccer game was advertised over the public-address system.
- It's past the point where one can be cavalier about peer pressure-induced binge drinking, especially by minors. By the same token, a light does not magically go on over someone's head when she turns 18, 19 or 21 that make it not as bad.
How one feels about this really depends on your personal biases. I am pretty shades-of-grey. Christopher Hitchens once wrote you should be able to go to hell in your own way and that is pretty much where I am. It is not a view for everyone.