A report of hazing among Towson cheerleaders has been released, revealing that the university’s entire cheerleading squad was suspended for the 2013-2014 season for what was essentially a harmless prank.
The university announced last year that the team was suspended for a hazing incident, but never divulged details about what the team had done.
But this week, the Baltimore Sun obtained the Towson cheerleader hazing report compiled by the university, finding that instead of dangerous drinking or physical abuse, the team actually engaged in something closer to juvenile hi-jinx.
The report revealed that at an off-campus party, upperclassmen on the Towson cheerleading team told freshmen members that they had a choice between doing cocaine or heroin. Though that may sound bad, the team leaders actually had no drugs and it was really just a ruse to emphasize that the team was drug-free. The question was reportedly a way to “test their understanding of team rules.”
The party did get a bit crazier from there, with freshmen being told to pick between funneling a beer or taking a shot of alcohol. They were then blindfolded and led into a room where they were told to put on an adult diaper and perform a dance routine for the veteran players.
But the Towson cheerleader hazing report revealed another important detail — the veteran players told the freshmen at the start of the party that they were free to say no to any part of the ritual that they felt uncomfortable with.
The report has been met with some scorn across the internet. The sports gossip site Deadspin called the incident the tamest case of hazing they had ever seen.
“So, basically, this was a D.A.R.E seminar disguised as a hazing ritual,” the report noted, adding, “We’re just glad that everyone managed to survive the ordeal.”
The Towson cheerleader hazing incident was especially tame compared to some other recent cases. At the University of Connecticut, administrators permanently banned sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma when it was reported that members forced pledges to “sizzle like bacon” on the floor and then drink alcohol until she passed out.
“UConn has zero tolerance for hazing and all similarly harmful behaviors, and repeatedly makes those expectations clear to all student leaders in Greek life and other organizations,” school spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said in an email.
Administrators said they were simply following protocol in the Towson cheerleader hazing incident as well. Towson University also has a “no tolerance” policy toward hazing.