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Middlebury singing group ends semester on a sour note

Story from WNNE-TV – White River Junction,VT,USA
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — A Middlebury College singing group has been shut down until next fall after violating the hazing policy, according to a college official.

Middlebury Singing Group Faces Hazing Violation

The male group “Stuck in the Middle” violated the policy at the end of February, said Associate Dean Gus Jordan.

He declined to say what the exact violation was, but said no one was ever in danger. “Among the kinds of things that fall under the definition of hazing, this would be what I would characterize as being at the very lower end of that group of behaviors.”

He said the college has a zero-tolerance policy and in regard to the definition of hazing said, “I think the most important aspects of the definition have to do with situations in which the leadership of a group places the new members, or initiates, in a situation that could be embarrassing to them or could be reasonably construed to be embarrassing or humiliating.”

The leaders of the group have been required to step down and will not be allowed to be leaders next year, Jordan said.

Calls and e-mails to the leaders were not returned by late afternoon Friday.

The Middlebury Campus, the college newspaper, printed a staff editorial saying the college’s action “ultimately signals the understandable decision of the administration to err on the side of caution.”

Some students said they thought the college’s actions against SIM were too harsh.

“Compared to the kind of general college antics it seemed really minor,” said student Liza Townsend. “I’m a big fan, they’re great. I’m a senior so it’s unfortunate I won’t get to hear them again for the rest of my time here.”

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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