TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Towson University cheerleaders are fighting back after being suspended the entire academic school year for hazing.
Rochelle Ritchie has learned the squad has now filed an appeal.
The 30-plus cheerleaders have not only been suspended from competing, but also cheering at any sporting event at the school. All of this happened just a week before the school’s first home football game.
Towson University is losing a little bit of its school spirit after its cheerleading squad is suspended for hazing.
“They can’t be involved in any Towson University related activities or games or even practices for that matter,” said Ray Feldman, Towson University.
But the cheerleaders are fighting back, filing an appeal Wednesday which will be heard by a panel of students, faculty and staff on Friday.
“That panel will hear the case, hear the allegations and make a decision whether to uphold the sanction or change the penalty in some way,” Feldman said.
The school has not given any detail as to what the hazing involved, only saying it was reported in early August and will not be tolerated.
Students say only those involved in the hazing should be punished.
“I don’t think the school should suspend all of them because it’s not all their faults. We don’t know if they were all there or if they knew what was going on,” said Parris Dawkins, student.
And while students say they don’t think all of the cheerleaders should be suspended, school officials say there is no “I” in team.
“Individual students are not going to be singled out because it is a team. It has team sanctions and team penalties and that’s the way it’s going to be dealt with,” said Feldman.
Towson has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to hazing, which in the student handbook is defined as “any action to produce mental, physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule.”
“I was pretty disappointed in them. Just because you see them walking around and they’re really nice people. And then for this to be going on kind of behind-the-scenes, it’s a little shocking,” student Amanda Stegmiller said.
Students say being hazed is nothing new and hope this makes it a thing of the past.
There is no time frame when the appeal could or could not be approved.
The Towson cheerleading squad won a collegiate cheerleading championship in April.