Assistant dean says SEMO sees several hazing cases a year

Friday, April 20, 2012

Officials remain tight-lipped on details about last week's alleged hazing activity involving Southeast Missouri State University's football team, but several university employees spoke Thursday on the frequency of similar incidents in past years, hazing education efforts on campus and their view on hazing's place in the university community.

L. Randy Carter, the university's assistant dean of students for student conduct, is in charge of overseeing judicial review for at least 10 football players who were reported to have participated in hazing last Friday morning when they allegedly duct-taped the arms, legs and mouths of several of their teammates in the Merick Hall football locker room and carried them out on to the football field in Houck Stadium.

The university released few details on the incident this week.

Carter said his office has seen anywhere from five to 15 cases per year during his seven years at the university in which students are accused of hazing, which is defined by the university's code of student conduct as any physical activity -- such as sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement or calisthenics -- that subjects a student to risk of harm, or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of a student.

Carter also outlined the university's judicial process for dealing with students charged with hazing. Accused students are summoned to the office of student conduct through a letter or by university police and will then have a judicial conference where charges are explained to them, he said. A student has the choice of having an administrative hearing or a hearing before a student judicial board. Getting through the process can take anywhere from a day to several weeks, and the severity of the incident would determine what sanction a student receives, Carter said. Penalties for hazing range from probation to expulsion.

Carter said no students have been expelled for hazing during his tenure. Football players involved in Friday's incident were referred to the office of student conduct after the Cape Girardeau County prosecutor's office declined to press charges earlier this week.

The university's newly named athletic director said Thursday he has not had to deal with hazing before.

"That is something that does not belong on campus and does not belong in our society," said Mark Alnutt, who is still serving as senior associate athletic director for administration at the University of Missouri.

Alnutt also said he has not been fully briefed on the incident but was sure interim athletic director Cindy Gannon and Dobbins were dealing with it properly.

Head football coach Tony Samuel said Thursday evening he was not allowed to speak on the incident. He also declined to give his opinion of hazing, saying he wouldn't "speak on any of that until I can later on."

An incident report released Wednesday to the Southeast Missourian following a Sunshine Law request submitted Monday to Sides contained little information. On Thursday, Department of Public Safety director Doug Richards declined to release additional details without approval from Sides.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

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