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Overreacting to lax party

Published: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Updated: Sunday, October 11, 2009 22:10

As some on campus begin a witch-hunt against members of the men's lacrosse team, The Cynic would like to encourage everybody to take a few steps back.

The party on 239 Main Street, hosted by members of the UVM men's lacrosse team, and any of the evening's subsequent injuries or citations, are in no way comparable to the sailing team's hazing incident last year.

However, the Student Government Association (SGA) is making this comparison.

First, we must consider the two situations separately.

In the case of the sailing team, a freshman member of a club sports team was found drunk to the point of hospitalization in the middle of the day.

In the more recent incident, a few student athletes on the lacrosse team had a kegger and, as parties often do, it blew up as friends invited friends and random people on the street saw that there was fun to be had.

There is no evidence that hazing occurred at the party and, while underage drinking may have taken place, it is unreasonable to speculate that this occurred against anybody's will.

After the party, a young student-athlete was found seriously injured in a quarry.

She does not seem to have been targeted by the men's lacrosse team nor is she a member of the men's lacrosse team, thus relieving the suspicions of hazing.

It is also unreasonable to assume that all the drinking that led up to the incident occured at the party, as oftentimes people come to house parties already drunk.

Therefore, it is unclear how such stark comparisons can be drawn between an incident of new-member hazing and a college party where someone voluntarily drank too much.

Yet, as we have seen, the kneejerk reaction to a story involving a men's lacrosse team and a woman who ended up injured at the end of the night is overtly negative in a post-Duke era.

All the more reason to make sure that we carefully consider the facts and call this what it really is:  a college kegger in a college town with drunk students doing dumb things.

The fact that it was a group of student-athletes doesn't change much.

It is now the job of the athletic department to handle the situation in a manner that best reflects not only the alleged crime, but the application of the policies these student-athletes signed onto when they joined the UVM athletic community.

So before we jump to conclusions, let's take a step back and be reasonable. 
The most important thing to learn from this is to stay safe and look out for our friends – the sports teams can do the same.

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4 comments Log in to Comment

Tue Oct 20 2009 03:51
Missing from this article and converstaion is the fact that the girl who was injured, was running away from the cops and in doing so injured herself (apparently). Maybe its about time that UVM, Burlington, and the U.S. should look at its backward approach toward's regulation/education of alcohol consumption.

That might be wishful thinking considering the Burlington Police Department makes an enormous some of money from handing out "noise violation" tickets, underage drinking, open containers, furnishing, furnishing for minors, etc.

And since Fogel came to UVM, he has been all too eager to get rid of the so-called "party image" of the school by insituting overly aggressive, and unconstitutional policies for RA's, UVM Police, and the CSES to carry out. These policies have done nothing to make UVM students safer and more educated about alcohol/drug use, and issues surrounding it, instead relegating students to consume alcohol/drugs in their dorm rooms, and at parties in which most of those drinking are still inexperienced with the consequences of doing so.

More Waking Up
Thu Oct 15 2009 17:10
Furthermore, the Vermont Cynic should demand the same level of accountability from the Athletic Department, not seek to help them avoid punishing these stand-out lacrosse players. While this may not be a hazing violation, it is certainly a violation of the Student-Athlete Contract which strictly prohibits both underage consumption of alcohol and furnishing alcohol to minors. The players hosting the party were not 21, and they were providing two kegs. The Athletic Department's inability to adequately respond and sanction these players demonstrates a flexible standard and a disturbing lack of integrity from a department that should be a role model and leader among the University community.
Wake Up.
Thu Oct 15 2009 16:40
The difference you should point out is that when the Sailing Team got into trouble, the SGA took a hard stand and sanctioned them in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the UVM Hazing Policy; though it hurt one of their most accomplished and well-established club sports, the SGA did the morally correct thing. The Athletic Department has done their best to sweep this issue under the rug, and the fact that the SGA has to hold them accountable for their own application of their own policies is disgraceful.
Mon Oct 12 2009 00:47
"the kneejerk reaction to a story involving a men’s lacrosse team and a woman who ended up injured at the end of the night is overtly negative in a post-Duke era."

To be fair,the first things that should come to mind when thinking of the Duke case are "false accusations", "attempted frame-up", "hysterical media overreaction", and "abandonment by an agenda-driven faculty". Plus, the imperative to consider all persons accused of possible wrongdoing as innocent until and unless they are proven otherwise. (They should have been thinking about this at Hofstra, too.)

Of course, I'm sure these were the first thoughts to cross the minds of those in the Univ. of Vermont Admin., also...

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