Boston College

BC swimming and diving team fires back at school following hazing allegations

Attorneys for the families of 30 team members are asking the college to retract its Sept. 20 statement and lift the indefinite suspension of the team until its investigation is completed

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Following allegations of hazing by the Boston College swimming and diving team earlier this week, the families of 30 team members have now hired lawyers and are asking the school to retract its statement and lift the indefinite suspension of the program pending completion of their investigation.

"The statement issued by the Boston College Athletics Department on September 20, 2023 falsely suggested that allegations of hazing by the Boston College Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving team have been substantiated," attorneys Andrew Miltenberg and Tara Davis said in a statement on Friday. "To be clear, the university’s conduct office has just only begun and certainly has not completed an investigation into such claims, nor have any findings been made. 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. It is distressing that the College has been so irresponsible in its public messaging. We are hopeful that the College will take all necessary and appropriate steps to rectify the substantial and ongoing damage caused to the student athletes."



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The two lawyers sent a letter to Boston College's attorney on Thursday asking the school to immediately retract its Wednesday, Sept. 20 statement and lift the indefinite suspension of the swimming and diving team until its investigation has been completed.

Boston College first announced Wednesday afternoon that it had suspended its men's and women's swimming and diving programs indefinitely for hazing.

"The Boston College Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving program has been placed on indefinite suspension, after University administrators determined that hazing had occurred within the program," the school said in the initial statement posted on its website. "The University does not—and will not—tolerate hazing in any form. During the suspension, all Swimming and Diving student-athletes will continue to have access to academic and medical resources provided to all Boston College student-athletes."

The school updated that statement on Thursday. It now reads, "Boston College Athletics has suspended the activities of the Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving teams following credible reports of hazing.  Based on the information known at this time, Athletics has determined a program suspension is warranted, pending a full investigation by the University. Consistent with University policy, the matter will be investigated by the Office of the Dean of Students and adjudicated fairly and impartially through the student conduct process.  Once the investigation and adjudication process is complete, Athletics will reassess the status of the teams."

School officials have not released any specific details about what the alleged hazing consisted of.

Miltenberg and Davis said in their letter that the school's "inaccurate statement" has generated significant attention and caused "reputational, social, mental, and emotional harm" to members of the swimming and diving team, "creating a hostile environment for the students on campus." They said the school's initial statement falsely indicated that allegations of hazing had already been substantiated.

"Neither the subsequent addition to the Statement of a single sentence referencing a fair and impartial adjudication, nor the letter issued by the Dean of Students office yesterday evening are sufficient to undo the harm already caused, and the substantial additional harm that will be caused, to the members of the Swimming and Diving team," the attorneys added.

They said the students' reputations have been permanently tarnished and they have been subjected to "questions, jeering and hurtful remarks by their peers." They said the entire situation has been "grossly mishandled" by the school's Athletics Department.

NBC10 Boston spoke with several BC students earlier this week about the allegations.

"I think it should be dealt with seriously," Laura Haas said. "I think there should be outlets for people, places they can go to speak up about it, but i think we do have some of that here at BC."

"I think it's disappointing, but also I know it's still an ongoing investigation, so hopefully once it's sorted through it's a misunderstanding, hopefully," added Katherine Whelan.

"Everyone's very welcoming, kind of just accepting, no matter what you want to do," Rocco Marini said. "But just hazing in general I do think is a pretty toxic thing."

"I don't really think it's necessarily a problem at this college in particular, but stuff like this does happen. I think its good that it's more of an anomaly and not more of a regular thing," Alex Deerkoski noted.

All of the members of the BC swimming and diving team will still have access to academic and medical resources provided to all student athletes during the suspension.

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