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Hazing News

Maine parent says Maine officials punished a victim; school officials disagree

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Published: August 17, 2007 12:00 am Hazing penalties off-base, says softball star’s family

By Dan Atkinson , Staff Writer
Daily News of Newburyport

AMESBURY – The family of University of Maine junior Ashley Waters is outraged after the school punished her and two of her softball teammates for “participating in hazing activities” at a drinking party, but the school officials are standing by their decision, saying even “subtle hazing” needs to stop.On Wednesday, the university announced it had handed down penalties to the entire team but issued harsher punishments to three players, including Waters, a former star at Amesbury High School who was suspended for two games and stripped of her captaincy.The penalties stem from recently discovered pictures of a “rookie party” in March 2006, where members of the UMaine softball team were pictured playing party games and drinking.

Jacqui Waters, Ashley’s mother, said she and her daughter were shaken by the university’s decision, which they say is unfounded. The family agrees that Ashley drank at a party while underage but says the university falsely implied she helped haze other students.

“She was a freshman at a rookie party. She obviously wasn’t hazing herself,” Jacqui Waters said. “You’re basically ruining a kid’s reputation for being at a party and having a few beers.”

Ashley Waters said she could not comment on the issue.

Robert Dana, the university’s dean of students, said that anyone at a hazing event would be implicated as participating, even the people being hazed. If the students had come forward earlier, they might not have been punished as harshly, Dana said. But because they were found out, they have to deal with breaking the university’s rules.

“If a person is at the event, and they’re not stopping it or facilitating exposure (of the event) to the athletic director or our office, they’re complicit in hazing,” Dana said.

The incident was

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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