Brown University statement on investigation of hazing allegations

Investigation initiated of men’s varsity swimming and diving team after news media organization shared information from unnamed sources.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The University is making available the following statement regarding its investigation of allegations of hazing against the men’s varsity swimming and diving team. Disclosure of further details is limited by University policies and federal law that protect the privacy of student records.

**UPDATE: University Statement: Feb. 19, 2018

The Brown University men’s swimming and diving team will not participate in the 2018 Men’s Ivy League Championships scheduled for Feb. 21 to 24.

The University’s investigation into hazing allegations and student conduct review process are expected to reach a conclusion in the coming weeks. Information on any charges filed or sanctions imposed on the team will be made public at the culmination of the full student conduct process.

**UPDATE: University Statement: Dec. 20, 2017

Since the investigation of hazing allegations involving the Brown men’s swimming and diving team launched on Nov. 29, Brown Athletics has taken interim measures based on information gathered by the University’s Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards to date.

Among actions taken, the men’s team will not participate in a swim meet scheduled for Jan. 13, 2018. The investigation will continue in the weeks ahead. Privacy laws and policies prevent the University from disclosing disciplinary actions involving individual students. Students found responsible for conduct code violations are held accountable through individual and/or collective disciplinary action.

University Statement: Dec. 6, 2017

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, Brown University’s Department of Athletics learned through a news media inquiry of an alleged hazing incident involving the men’s varsity swimming and diving team. At that time, few details were shared with Athletics regarding the circumstances that prompted the media inquiry, and no student had expressed concerns directly to the University. However, Brown considers any allegation of hazing with the utmost seriousness, and Athletics immediately shared information with Brown’s Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. The two departments began conversations to gather information and on Nov. 29, the conduct office notified members of the team that it had launched an investigation into the allegations.

Since then, additional information regarding the alleged incident has emerged, both through the student conduct office investigation and through new details shared on Nov. 29 by the news media organization, which brought forward additional allegations from its unnamed sources. While it remains the case that no student has expressed concerns directly to Brown to date, the University remains deeply troubled by the allegations and continues to actively investigate. Any activity proven to constitute hazing is a violation of both Brown’s Code of Student Conduct and Rhode Island state law.

(The University is not currently investigating the women’s swimming and diving team in relation to the allegations involving the men's team. While Student Conduct has started a preliminary investigation of unrelated conduct on the women’s team, that effort is focused on possible underage alcohol violations and at this time is distinct from investigation into the alleged hazing incident involving the men’s team.)

Brown’s policies regarding matters of student conduct and discipline protect the privacy of students records, and federal law limits when details related to student conduct investigations may be disclosed. However, the University wants to make it clear unequivocally that students found responsible for code violations are subject to sanctions. Should any student(s) be found responsible, the University will ensure that responsible parties are held accountable, whether through individual and/or collective disciplinary action. The Code of Student Conduct website outlines the various sanctions for violations of the conduct code. In addition, Brown student athletes always are subject to conduct policies for athletes, as well as sanctions relating to any violations of Ivy League or NCAA regulations.

The University educates all students regarding the policy on hazing through its Code of Student Conduct. In particular, as a requirement for athletic participation, every student athlete must review Brown’s hazing policy and attest in writing that they understand and commit to adhering to the policy. Separately, all student athletes must attend an NCAA compliance meeting with their team. And Athletics administrators meet with team leaders to discuss policies, including hazing, and their roles as team leaders. Other training programs include discussions on responsible use of social media and the dangers of hazing.

Early this fall, in response to national attention to issues of hazing, a working group of Brown administrators began work on a proactive review and discussion of Brown’s resources and practices related to hazing. These efforts continue.