Report on Iowa State hockey club finds evidence of 'sufficiently serious conduct' in violation of hazing policy

Phillip Sitter
Ames Tribune
Sport club suspensions have been exceptionally rare at Iowa State University.

There's little information publicly available about the alleged hazing that led an Iowa State University sport club to be suspended this week, but it's rare for a sport club to be sanctioned at all and never for hazing, at least in the past four years.

The men's Cyclone Hockey Club at Iowa State was suspended in the wake of hazing allegations "and other reported concerns," the university announced in a news release Wednesday.

The release did not elaborate on the alleged behavior, but described the allegations as being of a "serious nature" — enough for an immediate suspension of all team meetings, practices, competitions, recruiting, social events, all other formal or informal events, coaching and use of all university-held financial accounts.

An investigation led by the university's Division of Student Affairs with assistance from the university's human resources and internal audit departments is looking at the alleged team hazing, the club's finances, organizational structure and its oversight by Recreation Services.

As a club sport, Cyclone Hockey is not associated with the Iowa State Athletics Department.

More:Another Iowa State student sport club has been suspended while ISU mulls future of clubs

The same day that the club's suspension took effect, Toyia Younger, the university's senior vice president for student affairs, notified in a letter to the club's coaches and Recreation Services staff that the university had received reports in April of hazing within the club. The university also heard additional concerns about the club's finances and organizational and management structure.

Younger wrote that she had received an investigation summary Monday from the university's Office of Student Conduct regarding the hazing allegations and that there was evidence of "sufficiently serious conduct" in violation of the university's hazing policy.

That policy defines hazing as "any intentional, knowing or reckless action, request or creation of circumstances" that may include endangering someone's mental or physical health, the damage or destruction of property, impairing someone's physical liberties — such as through sensory deprivation, kidnapping, isolation, sleep or meal deprivation and personal servitude — and other violations, in connection with initiation, admission or continued membership in any recognized student organization or group affiliated with the university.

An activity can still be considered hazing even if an individual consents to it, and someone who plans or assists in hazing does not have to be present for the activity in order to be held responsible for violating the university's policy.

University spokesperson Angie Hunt said the university would not comment on whether any students, faculty or staff have faced any individual sanctions or repercussions from allegations related to the hockey club, as the university does not comment on individual personnel or student discipline issues.

How often are sport clubs or other organizations suspended?

Cyclone Hockey is the second of two organizations on campus actively on suspension — not counting the ongoing suspension of Iowa State's crew club after a deadly accident last year that has led to a process of change in how the university manages its student-led sport clubs.

The university has said the hockey club investigation is separate and unrelated to the review and proposed recommendations for sport clubs following the crew club accident.

The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity chapter at Iowa State was suspended in April for prohibited conduct including endangerment and the misuse of alcohol, according to the university's student conduct office, which lists disciplinary actions taken against student organizations, fraternities and sororities.

The earliest Sigma Phi Epsilon could be reinstated is Aug. 22, and only after multiple reviews, meetings and substance abuse education are completed.

The Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity chapter was reprimanded in April for the misuse of alcohol. Also in April, the Adelante fraternity was placed on probation through Dec. 17 for misuse of alcohol.

Such action against fraternities and sororities at Iowa State has been taken several times each school year since 2018-19 — with the exception of 2020-21, when it happened only once during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the student conduct office's records.

Cyclone Hockey's suspension is the third time since May 2018 that disciplinary action has been taken against a student sport club — again, not counting the crew club's suspension.

In October 2018, the ISU Sailing Club was placed on probation through May 2019 for misuse of alcohol and other violations.

In January 2019, the women's hockey club was reprimanded for misuse of alcohol and other violations.

Hazing is specifically mentioned only once in the student conduct office's records, regarding the May 2019 two-year suspension of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority chapter. 

The sorority was required to put anti-hazing training into its recruitment program before the next intake process.

Other recent Iowa State news:What does the history of prestigious AAU membership say about Iowa State's departure?

Phillip Sitter covers education for the Ames Tribune, including Iowa State University and PreK-12 schools in Ames and elsewhere in Story County. Phillip can be reached via email at psitter@gannett.com. He is on Twitter @pslifeisabeauty.