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April 10, 2008

Hazing prompts a cappella group's suspension

Middlebury Campus (VT):

College administrators suspended the Stuck in the Middle (SIM) a cappella group for the rest of semester after finding the group committed hazing violations. Allegations of the hazing incident came to the attention of the College during the first week of March, Dean of the College Tim Spears said. The hazing occurred during the final week of February when SIM was inducting new members into their ranks.

Word of the hazing came from a source outside of the College, Spears said. "The College received a phone call from a person off campus who was concerned that hazing might be occurring," Spears said. "This call came into Public Safety. They then followed up with interviews with members of SIM."

In the complaint, the caller voiced concern over activities SIM held for new members. "The reporting party raised concerns about activities that a person joining a student organization participated in as part of an induction process," Assistant Director of Public Safety Dan Gaiotti said.

Director of the Center of Campus Activities and Learning (CCAL) Doug Adams said administrators agreed on a punishment following an exhaustive interview process. "The group has been suspended for the rest of this term and we've asked the current leadership to step down," Adams said. "The group can re-form starting next fall. CCAL worked in concert with the Dean of the College's Office and determined the length of the punishment given the situation."

Spears said the group was helpful during the investigation of the hazing allegations. "I want to add that in these interviews membership was very cooperative with the Public Safety investigation," he said. Members of SIM declined to comment about the incident.

Although alcohol is often present in hazing activities, it was not the cause of the investigation in SIM's case. "Often alcohol is involved in hazing incidents," Associate Dean of the College Gus Jordan said. "In this particular situation it wasn't the use of alcohol that brought the activities to our attention."

Adams hopes SIM will ultimately prosper when they return as an organization next year. "I will meet with the student organization to answer any questions they have," he said. "Hopefully they will work through this and improve out of it. We hope SIM can improve and return as an organization united in their love of singing."

Posted by acapnews at April 10, 2008 9:06 PM

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