After a weeklong investigation, the athletics department has found that the fencing team did not engage in hazing activities at a social event it held off campus Oct. 26.
The administration determined that the fencing team did not violate its zero-tolerance policy on hazing, which prohibits varsity teams from placing their members in uncomfortable initiation situations.
But the fencing team did violate other University policies, said Tom Beckett, Yale’s director of athletics.
“There was some corrective action taken,” said Beckett, who would not specify the policies the fencing team violated. “The case is closed.”
As part of the corrective action, the fencers will have to meet as a group with an alcohol counselor, think of initiation activities that do not involve alcohol, and perform an unspecified amount of community service, according to fencer Nathan Elchert ’05, who broke his ankle during the initiation.
Beckett reached his decision after consulting with the masters and deans of various residential colleges and other Yale administrators.
He informed the team of the athletics department’s decision Nov. 5.
“I think [the administration’s decision] is very fair,” Elchert said. “[Administrators] are not making us do anything all that horrible. It’s no great hardship.”
After Elchert injured his ankle during the squad’s social activity Oct. 26, Beckett asked the team to submit a written account of the night’s events by Oct. 30.
Beckett then met with the team Oct. 31 and spoke with captains Zane Selkirk ’04 and Cameron Hill ’02 and head coach Henry Harutunian Nov. 2 about the investigation.
Last December, the men’s heavyweight crew team lost its varsity status for the preseason after athletics administrators investigated alleged acts of hazing at the team’s bowling night Dec. 5, 2000. The fencing team’s incident differed from the crew team incident, however, because there was no report of fencing team members being placed in dangerous situations by other team members, Beckett said.
Although the administration has not found violations of its zero-tolerance policy in the two most recent alleged incidents of hazing, Beckett said he will not change the way he examines each report of potential zero-tolerance violations.
“We will judge each case on its own merit,” Beckett said. “We will be absolutely thorough each and every time that it is brought to our attention that we need to look at a possible violation of our policy.”