CHESTNUT HILL - Following news Boston College had The Heights reveal a letter sent to student athletes accuses the students of binge drinking and forcing fellow team members to consume their own vomit.its swim and dive program indefinitely, reports in the student newspaper
"It was kind of hard to believe at first because it's pretty crazy to think that they're doing that," said Molly Flaherty, a junior at BC.
"I don't know who thought that would ever be a good idea," added junior Daniel Larimer. "That just doesn't seem like fun for anybody."
"It's really gross," Flaherty said. "That's unsanitary. I didn't really think those things happened here."
That is a common misconception, according to Dennis Goodwin, who founded the Anti-Hazing Collaborative here in Massachusetts. He trains high school and college athletic teams nationwide about being proactive instead of reactive when it comes to hazing.
"Freshmen are coming in who will do anything they want to swim or dive at a Division I school, so they will do it because if they want to be part of the team and be accepted by the team, they are doing it. The upperclassman are telling them what to do," Goodwin explained. "It happens in every school throughout the country at a college level, high school level, happens everywhere."
He said increased eyes are on hazing due to the prevalence of cellphones and social media videos documenting the practice, not necessarily because more hazing occurs. The key, he said, is to train student athletes before an incident occurs. "They're afraid, because if they speak up, they might be the next victim, or they won't be part of the team, so that's where the training comes in to have the people speak up. The real hero is the person who speaks up," he said.
In a new statement to WBZ, Boston College said that it received credible threats of hazing and that "the matter will be investigated by the Office of the Dean of Students and adjudicated fairly and impartially through the student conduct process. Once the investigation and adjudication process is complete, Athletics will reassess the status of the teams."
About half of the swim and dive team, 30 students and families, have now retained attorneys Tara Davis and Andrew Miltenberg to represent them. In a statement to WBZ, they said, in part:
"The issuance of this statement prematurely, and without having gathered all of the relevant facts, was not only negligent but also extremely harmful and damaging to the members of the Swimming and Diving program. It is distressing that the College has been so irresponsible in its public messaging."
The Swim and Dive team was scheduled to have its first meet on October 7 in Washington DC. It's unclear if the investigation will be complete by then.
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