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Men's Baseball

Baseball team allowed to continue season

WATERLOO, Ont. (September 24, 2012) - The varsity baseball team at Wilfrid Laurier University will be permitted to complete its season following a presentation by the players in which they apologized for a hazing party, volunteered to raise awareness and do peer-to-peer education about related issues, and committed themselves to upholding the universitys Student Athlete Code of Conduct.

"These young men obviously dedicated themselves to some serious reflection and discussion over the past few days," said PETER BAXTER, Laurier's director of Athletics and Recreation. "The university has a zero-tolerance policy with regard to hazing. I am convinced that the members of our baseball team now appreciate why any form of hazing is unacceptable. I believe they have learned from their mistakes and will carry these learnings forward into the rest of their season and beyond. The real measure of their commitment will be their follow-through, and we plan to hold them accountable to it."

The baseball team was suspended, and forfeited four games this past weekend, following an investigation by Laurier's Athletics and Recreation Department into hazing activity during a team party the weekend before. The team also faced a possible season-long suspension. However, to offer the players a learning opportunity, the team was invited to reflect on the detriments of hazing and to make a presentation about what they had learned and why they should be allowed to complete their season. The team made its presentation Sunday evening to the director of Athletics and Recreation and the department's interuniversity athletics co-ordinator.

As part of the presentation, the team apologized to the university, the Golden Hawk athletics program, the Laurier community, the broader community and the players' families. The players acknowledged the negative impacts of hazing, committed themselves to speaking out publicly against such activity, and proposed alternative team-building exercises. Some of the team's proposals include:

- Playing a role in the university's peer-to-peer education programs that are used to explain the Student Athlete Code of Conduct to varsity athletes.
- Getting involved in the community through a variety of activities such as delivering anti-hazing and anti-bullying presentations to schools.
- Further developing the team's code of conduct to set higher standards for player safety and well-being.
- Initiating new team-building traditions such as a team camping trip, movie nights, group study sessions, and other sport activities.
- Matching each new player with and a veteran student athlete to serve as a mentor for athletic, academic, and personal support.

"Following significant reflection, together with purposeful planning for change, we believe there is a stronger commitment to meaningful peer-to-peer education, team building and high standards of student athlete safety and well-being," said David McMurray, Laurier's vice-president: Student Affairs.

All Laurier varsity athletes are educated about the university's Student Athlete Code of Conduct through an orientation session with their respective teams every year. During this session, an emphasis is placed on the department's Hazing Policy to ensure the student athletes have a complete understanding of what hazing entails and the consequences should they fail to abide by the policy. Each student athlete, as well as their head coach, is then required to sign off on the two-page policy, indicating that they will abide by the policy, prior to their participation in league competition. Members of the Laurier baseball team completed their orientation session and signed off on the Hazing Policy on Aug. 27, 2012.

The games forfeited on the weekend were against the Western University Mustangs and the University of Waterloo Warriors. The team will resume its season Sept. 25 against Brock University. The team has a 4-8 record, including the forfeited games, and has nine games remaining in the regular season.
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