The student news site of Ward Melville High School


The student news site of Ward Melville High School


The student news site of Ward Melville High School


Boston College Swimming and Diving Program Accused of Hazing

On Wednesday, September 20, a statement was issued by the Athletic Department at Boston College, indefinitely suspending both the men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams due to alleged hazing. Boston College is a selective, private Jesuit university located in Newton, MA.

According to a Boston College administrator’s letter, the hazing was reportedly targeted at new attendees at a freshmen event. There, upperclassmen student-athletes allegedly pressured the freshmen to binge drink and then ingest their own vomit. Additionally, there was also a report of underage alcohol consumption on two other occasions associated with the swimming and diving team. Participants allegedly received encouragement to partake in drinking activities at one of these gatherings. 

When interviewed, the Boston College administration was reticent on the details of the incident, but admitted that the hazing did in fact occur (NBC News).

Families of the upper class student-athletes are pursuing legal action, however, as they believe the allegations are unsupported and rash. Their legal teams state, “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” (CBS News).

In response to this, Jack Dunn, Associate Vice President for University Communications, told BC’s student newspaper, “The Heights,” that there are “credible allegations of hazing,” which gives BC the right to suspend the program. “Given the serious nature of these allegations, the suspension will remain in effect while the matter is investigated by the Office of the Dean of Students,” Dunn added.

He explained the procedures for investigation, saying that the “program suspension is warranted,” but following that, there must be a full investigation by the University. That would then be brought to the Office of the Dean of Students to further determine “fairly and impartially through the student conduct process.” Subsequently, the Athletics department would reevaluate the suspension.

Boston College’s administration continued in their letter, “The University does not — and will not — tolerate hazing in any form.”

However, on October 17th, thirty-seven swimmers and divers from the team filed a lawsuit against the college. 

The lawsuit stated that Boston College suspended the entire men’s and women’s teams “prior to any investigation into the allegations being conducted let alone completed, and prior to any findings being made” (CBS News). Their primary objective in this suit was to have the school lift the suspension and allow the student-athletes to practice and compete while the investigation proceeded. 

The students are also seeking financial reparations for the physical and psychological damage this suspension had posed. 

Stuart Bernstein, a partner at Nesenoff & Miltenberg, LLP, who represented the team members, said, “We are disappointed with the decision as the goal of the swimmers was to practice and compete while the investigation proceeds.” 

On October 27th, the swimmers chose to drop the lawsuit since they were unable to accomplish that goal.

Moreover, during the hearings, the students and their families wished to stay anonymous, but the judge had ruled that the students must give up their anonymity for the suit to proceed.

As of now, both the men’s and women’s swimming and dive teams of Boston College are suspended indefinitely.

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