Humber College has concluded its investigation into the women’s varsity rugby team and has disciplined an undisclosed number of female players for a hazing incident on Sept. 25.
The team suspension announced on Oct. 2 has been lifted, but individual players are facing penalties ranging from a one-game suspension to suspension for the rest of the regular season.
“There was an investigation that was launched around an event that we have determined meets our definition of hazing activity, and therefore there have been consequences for people based on their involvement,” Jen McMillen, Humber College’s dean of students, said during an interview with Humber News Wednesday afternoon.
McMillen said the hazing focused on new, rookie members of the OCAA championship team.
“When we’re talking about the term hazing, we are talking about activities that we’ve determined to be inappropriate, to potentially be demeaning or disrespectful to individual members of the team and typically that is focused on the new members, or the rookies of the team,” McMillen said.
In the Humber Varsity Code of Expectations, which all players are required to sign, there is a provision that specifically mentions hazing:
“Teams found to be involved in any forms of hazing may lead to immediate suspension from further play,” the document reads in part.
However, there is no specific definition of hazing listed in the code.
McMillen declined to elaborate on the specifics of what happened on Sept. 25, the night of a major athletics gala.
Team members are also staying quiet despite multiple attempts by Humber News to find out what happened on the date of the alleged incident.
Members of the women’s team and coaching staff met with Humber officials leading the investigation Tuesday evening to learn of the findings and suspensions.
McMillen said the women’s team will go ahead with their Sunday game against Sheridan College.
No update on men’s varsity rugby team
While the investigation into the women’s team has been concluded, there are still very few answers about why the men’s rugby team was also suspended on Oct. 2.
College staff have not disclosed the focus of the investigation into the five-time OCAA champion men’s team.
However, officials said they will release an update on the men’s team suspension on Friday.
After the teams’ suspensions were announced, Toronto Police Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu told Humber News police were called to Humber’s North campus on Oct. 1 to investigate an alleged sexual assault incident that took place on Sept. 25.
“Someone became aware of the situation and relayed it to school security, who in turn called police,” Sidhu said.
Sidhu told Humber News that the complaint allegedly referenced members of Humber’s rugby teams.
However, she added a victim has not come forward and there is no word on any suspects.
Humber says privacy trumps curiousity
With the halls of Humber rife with speculation about the fate of the rugby teams and what happened on Sept. 25, McMillen defended the lack of official information until now.
“As difficult as it might be for people to trust in the process, that’s what I would ask them to do – is to trust that, as an institution, we care deeply about the safety and security of our students,” McMillen said.
“We care deeply about natural justice and due process and we are committed to ensuring all of those things are in place as we work through the information that we are aware of.”
Staff from Humber athletics and student success and engagement departments have been leading an internal investigation since the beginning of October.
“We have followed an appropriate process,” McMillen added.