UCO cheer hazing violations revealed in document
UCO cheer athletes were blindfolded, asked about their sexual preferences, underage members were provided alcohol, and other acts legally defined as hazing, according to an official report from the UCO Office of Student Conduct.
The Vista received this report Tuesday morning as a result of submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to UCO after the university announced the suspension of the cheer team Saturday.
The document included the specific acts of hazing that were committed by some UCO cheer athletes. Some portions of the document “that would lead to identifying specific individuals” were redacted by UCO as the university is still investigating individuals responsible for hazing, according to Adrienne Nobles, vice president for communications and public affairs.
According to the report, the following acts of hazing were committed:
- Members were blindfolded.
- Members were asked to answer questions that were of a sexual nature.
- Members were asked questions about their sexual preferences.
- Members performed lap dances.
- Members were grinding against objects “in a sexual manner.”
- Members were twerking.
- Members were yelled at in a military fashion.
- Members drank a mixture of things taken from the refrigerator.
- Alcohol was provided to underage team members.
- Members were sprayed with a liquid.
A public Instagram post from a member of the UCO Cheer team Monday said that the hazing occurred in August.
The number of members, which specific members committed these acts and where they occurred are unknown.Student-Conduct-Findings_Recommendations-3-18-21_Redacted
According to Nobles, all members of the team were suspended under this decision, but those found to be not responsible for the acts of hazing will be “eligible to reapply through the membership review process.”
UCO President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar addressed the decision in a statement in a campus-wide email Saturday, initially alerting students to the suspensions.
“Recently, the university was made aware of reports of hazing on the UCO cheer team,” Neuhold-Ravikumar said. “Reports of hazing are approached swiftly and with great concern for the safety and well-being of our students.”
President Neuhold-Ravikumar said the ongoing investigation, handled by the UCO Office of Student Conduct and Title IX, was conducted “promptly upon receiving notice” of reports of hazing.
Nobles told The Vista that there is no criminal investigation regarding the allegations on Monday.
“Training on hazing and bystander intervention practices will be required for the UCO cheer team and for the leadership of all student organizations,” Neuhold-Ravikumar said.
The report included the university hazing policy, state hazing laws and the aforementioned punishments enacted Saturday by Neuhold-Ravikumar.
UCO’s hazing policy states, “Regardless of the incident location(s), any student(s) and/or student organization(s) found responsible for any form of hazing ay be subject to immediate suspension and/or expulsion.
“The expressed or implied consent of the victim shall not be considered as a defense. Apathy and/or consent in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts; they shall be considered violations of this policy.”