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Hazing is taken too seriously coast to coast

Ramin Ostad | The Gateway (University of | Sports | April 10th, 2006



EDMONTON (CUP) -- You don't have to be an athlete to know that peer pressure is a bitch—though maybe its more severe for some. With sports heavily rooted in tradtion, athletes often come under the pressure to fit in, which can lead new members to make some questionable decisions.

For example, the Simon Fraser University swim team. A few weeks ago, almost every member of both the junior and senior teams was suspended for conduct SFU considered to be “hazing.” Apparently, "hazing" included each member describing detailed sexual fantasies about other members and taking suggestive photos wearing team uniforms. Both sexes took part. The University suspended all but three members of the team because this contravened the swim team's guidelines for “rookie rituals.”

Now, I have a couple questions. First, how do I join the SFU swim team? Because honestly, I'm pretty down for girls being forced to think of me sexually. Second, was this actually hazing? Don't get me wrong; I'm a firm believer that hazing is a cruel and unnecessary practice. However, none of the information released by SFU can suggest to me that any of this was involuntary. No one was reportedly hurt, and from what we've been told, no one was naked. None of the pictures were plastered over campus or anything of that nature.

So why exactly were these teams suspended one week before defending their North American championships? It just sounds like a pretty bitchin' party.

I'm not trying to marginalize the gravity of hazing rituals, but quite frankly, these kids could have done much worse. All this swim team did was get drunk and tell hormone-inducing stories.

By reacting so strongly to this, SFU accomplishes nothing. I'm entirely confident that there are much worse things going on within other SFU teams that could be getting much more attention. Even if this was an attempt to prove the University's stance on hazing to the other teams, it's made trivial by how minor the swim team's indiscretions actually were. I mean, it's not like they behaved like, say, the McGill football team. Though I guess it's hard to sodomize a swimmer—I hear they do a lot of clenching.
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