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Zero Tolerance: Towson University Suspends Cheerleading Team For Hazing

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(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Scandal at Towson University. The cheerleading team is suspended this academic year for hazing.

Pat Warren reports on the consequences for what team members are accused of doing.

The hazing incident was reported early this August. The university is not naming names and not telling exactly what happened, but it does have a zero tolerance policy on hazing.

Cheering a team onto victory can be as much a sport as the game itself. But the Towson University cheerleading team is suspended for the year for hazing.

“I think it’s really important for our students to understand that hazing is not tolerated on this campus,” said Jana Varwig, Vice President, student affairs.

The complaint involves veteran cheerleaders hazing newcomers. Some students winding up the week on campus consider the suspension extreme.

“I don’t think that’s really fair. I only think the girls that did it should be suspended,” said Samantha Damare, TU junior.

“I do think it’s a little severe,” said Jay Kim, TU Sophomore.

But the university stands by its zero tolerance policy.

“I think the power dynamic of trying to become a member of an organization is important to pay attention to,” a school official said. “So that when one is trying to become a member of that organization and you’re asked to do something that you may not want to do, but you think you might have to do it because that is how you become a member of that organization, that’s the power dynamic there.”

More students agree hazing is a problem.

“It kind of happens a lot in college as it is. So I guess them getting suspended is a great way to show that you shouldn’t do it anyway,” said Cheyenne Perdue, TU freshman.

“I don’t think hazing’s the right thing to do for any group. So if you’re going to do it, you should probably go through the punishment for it,” said Christina Perez-Alard, TU sophomore.

“Hazing in general is just not needed at all,” said Alex Gouldmann, TU senior.

The team has the right to appeal.

It is the university’s understanding that the team will appeal and expects to hear from them next week.

The Towson cheerleading team won the all-girl Division I National Championship in April.

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