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Dalhousie players feel 'betrayed' by accusations of alleged hazing

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HALIFAX -- Dalhousie University is standing by its decision to suspend the women's hockey team over an alleged hazing incident, saying the squad's most recent version of what happened that September night is only half the story.

The team issued a statement Thursday saying it held a party to welcome new players that involved dressing up rookies in "odd clothing," and asking them to eat sardines, hot peppers and whipped cream.

It also said the get-together at a private house included drinking games, but no one was forced to drink alcohol and no activities were mandatory.

"Throughout the evening, senior members of the team looked out for the first years to ensure that they would come to no harm," read the two-page statement.

But university spokesman Charles Crosby said the women's statement left out a number of details. He declined to elaborate, citing privacy issues.

"These specific actions that are outlined are still extremely selective and really only part of what happened at the party, so it's disappointing," he said.

"Common sense dictates that there are certain things that you just don't do and a lot of what went on at this party were things that you just know were not OK."

Dalhousie suspended all but first-year players from the team last week -- effectively ending their 2012-13 season -- after an investigation into the incident, which Crosby said involved excessive drinking, intimidation and humiliation.

Crosby has said no one was physically hurt during the party, but many players were "put in harm's way" both physically and psychologically.

Liz Matheson, who was suspended as team captain as part of the school's decision, said nothing more happened at the party. She said the entire team, including first-year players, agreed to the description of the events in the statement.

"I honestly don't think Crosby has all the facts and that is one of the reasons why we are fighting this, because something we believe didn't go well in the process of this investigation," Matheson said.

The investigation by the vice-president of student services started after a parent approached the team's coach with concerns about the treatment of new players.

The team apologized in its statement "for any mistakes" made during the party, but lambasted the university for its handling of the situation, saying school officials aggressively and unfairly interrogated players and depicted them as criminals.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 11, 2013 C4

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