YORK, PA – York College has concluded its investigation of alleged hazing incidents within its Division III wrestling program. As a result, the College is lifting the program's interim suspension, which went into effect on Oct. 30. The wrestling program will be placed on disciplinary probation throughout the 2013-14 academic year; this includes official notice that the conduct of the student-athletes participating in the program must be in accordance with College regulations and Department of Athletics policies, and that future issues or violations could prompt further disciplinary action. In addition, members of the wrestling program will be required to perform community service during the 2013-14 academic year.
Individual student-athletes who were accused of violating the Student Code of Conduct and the Student-Athlete Code of Conduct, including the College's Anti-Hazing Policy, appeared before an Administrative Judicial Board this week. They have been informed by the Office of Student Conduct of their disciplinary sanctions, which range from official warning up to and including expulsion from the College. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects against the release of personally identifiable information derived from education records, including information regarding student disciplinary matters.
Each student-athlete participating in the program will also have his athletic eligibility determined by the Department of Athletics and Recreation.
"We at York College have a zero-tolerance policy with respect to hazing," said President Pamela Gunter-Smith. "Some of our student-athletes on the wrestling team were subjected to initiation rites from their teammates; these actions have no place at our school or on any college campus, and they will not be tolerated."
"I would like to express great regret and sincere apology to the student-athletes who were hazed, and to those student-athletes who were innocent of any indiscretion. Our decision to reinstate the program reflects our desire not to further punish these students."
"We had clear evidence of violations that were part of an organized hazing practice," said Dean of Student Affairs Joseph Merkle. "Based on that, we decided to act and to act swiftly. We are very disappointed in such behavior, and we believe our actions send a clear message to all of our York College students that this type of behavior has not and will never be tolerated."
"Wrestling has a rich heritage and tradition at York College, and it is unfortunate that some of our student-athletes have made inappropriate choices," said Athletic Director Paul Saikia. "I would like to commend Coach Duane Bastress and his staff for taking appropriate action. Our goal now is to ensure the wrestling program appropriately addresses these violations and is prepared to move forward."
Located in southcentral Pennsylvania, York College offers more than 50 baccalaureate majors in professional programs, the sciences and humanities to its 4,600 undergraduate students. The College also offers master's programs in business, education and nursing, and a doctorate in nursing practice. A center of affordable academic excellence, York is dedicated to the intellectual, professional and social growth of its students. The College helps them develop a concrete plan to attain academic growth and career success; encourages them to try in the "real world" what they learn in the classroom; and prepares them to be professionals in whatever career they pursue.