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Athletics probed at Millersville University
Internet report and photos of women’s lacrosse party spark controversy and investigation.

By CINDY STAUFFER, Staff
Lancaster New Era

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. – Millersville University is investigating possible hazing by its women’s lacrosse team, after photos of what appear to be a team drinking party were posted on a national anti-hazing Web site.

The 16 photos, on www.ncaahazing.com, apparently first were posted on an online photo-sharing Web site by a member of the team.

They show young women apparently drinking shots while wearing men’s underwear on their heads. Other photos show women drinking from what look like beer cans, which are duct-taped to their hands.

The players’ names and faces correspond to a team’s roster posted on the university’s Web site, ncaahazing.com noted. The team’s coach confirmed today that the photos show some of the team.

The anti-hazing site blacked out the player’s faces to conceal their identities.

“There’s a formal process under way,” Millersville University athletic director Peg Kauffman said today, referring to the university’s investigation.” There will be conversations with members of the lacrosse team and the coach.”

Kauffman said Millersville does not approve any hazing behavior.

“Behavior of anything of this nature is not something that we’re about at Millersville,” she said. “It’s not something we will condone.”

Lacrosse coach Barbara Waltman said she was not aware of the party and only recently learned of the photos, stamp-dated Feb 3, 2006, and Feb. 3, 2007.

“When I got the call from Peg, I was flabbergasted,” Waltman said. “It’s unfortunately not good decision-making.”

She added, “Obviously I’m disappointed in the judgment of my players. It’s behavior I do not condone and that is not acceptable.”

She said she has not spoken to players. Students are starting to return to campus, where classes start Monday.

“Hopefully we will sort things through and proper attention will be taken with the parties involved,” she said.

Attempts to contact several of the team members were not successful.

Millersville’s student conduct code notes that any student or student organization can be subject to disciplinary sanctions if they engage in hazing.

The code prohibits “hazing or harassing another person for the purpose of initiation or maintaining group affiliation. Hazing is defined as any action which endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, with or without his/her consent, or causes discomfort, embarrassment or ridicule.”

One photo shows a dry-erase board with the note “have fun with the rookies” written on it.

Photos show a woman apparently getting sick in a trash can and another one drinking from a bucket. Some of the girls’ faces have make-up scrawled on them and their hair is put up with tampons, used as curlers.

The ncaahazing.com Web site calls on the National Collegiate Athletic Association to enact anti-hazing legislation to protect student athletes from dangerous activities.

It posts photos and videos of alleged hazing activities at other universities across the country.

Web site spokesman William Schut said today that the site does not determine whether the activities are hazing.

“We just pass them along and let the school investigate,” he said.

A Millersville University student recently filed a federal lawsuit against the school, saying it refused to award her a teaching certificate and education degree after an online photo showed her drinking from a cup under the caption “Drunken Pirate.”

The student, Stacy Snyder, 27, said university officials confronted her about the photo the day before graduation and told her she wouldn’t be receiving her degree or certificate because the photo was “unprofessional.”

A university attorney has said that all of “educational decisions are based on a full range of academic performance issues, not solely on a student’s personal Web site or social networking site.”

Snyder’s case is still pending.
Published: Aug 23, 2007 11:27 AM EST

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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