CMS men’s soccer season canceled due to ‘demeaning and potentially dangerous’ hazing

The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s soccer team will not compete for the remainder of the season. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

Due to a hazing incident that took place on Claremont McKenna College’s campus Oct. 1, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athletics canceled the men’s soccer program for the remainder of the fall 2022 season, CMS Athletics announced Wednesday.

Word of hazing new team members in the CMS men’s soccer team first led to the cancellation of Saturday’s rivalry game against Pomona-Pitzer (PP), then their entire athletic season four days later.

On Oct. 6, the CMS Athletics department, in partnership with the CMC and Harvey Mudd College Deans of Students Offices, launched an investigation into the team’s potential violations against the CMS Athletics Student Athlete Code of Conduct and Hazing Policy. 

“The investigation found that nearly all members of the team, acting as a team, violated multiple conduct standards, including organizing and carrying out an event which subjected new team members to multiple acts of hazing,” an Oct. 12 statement published by CMS said. “As a result, the remainder of the men’s fall soccer season is canceled, including any opportunities for SCIAC and NCAA tournament play.”

According to the statement, the members of the men’s soccer team cooperated fully with the incident review. 

CMS men’s soccer players and coaches did not respond to TSL’s request for comment.

Following the announcement of the men’s soccer season shutdown, Dianna Graves, CMC’s associate vice president and dean of students, sent an email Thursday evening to the CMC student body describing the initial incident as “an event which subjected new team members to acts of hazing that were demeaning and potentially dangerous.” 

The email exhorted all students to reconsider actions that take place during organized community events, providing a list of questions for students to ask themselves.

“I want to remind all of our students — whether on teams, clubs, research groups or other kinds of organizations — that we each have a duty to ensure that events and gatherings support the goals of the program and are conducted in a safe, responsible, inclusive manner,” Graves said in the email.

Additionally, in an email leaked to TSL, CMC Office of Admissions gave tour guides instructions for how to respond to questions concerning the hazing incident and asked students to review “talking points” prepared by the college and Associate Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid Jenn Sandoval-Dancs.  

CMS has put out a public statement and the TSL will be covering the story,” the email sent by Rachelle Ehrman, CMC senior assistant dean of admission, said. “As a result, you may get asked about [the hazing incident] on tours over the next several weeks.”

Ehrman told student tour guides “you should not bring [the hazing incident] up, [the talking points are] only if you get direct questions.”

CMC’s communications representative Gilien Silsby declined to comment on the nature of the hazing. Meanwhile, Judy Augsburger, HMC’s director of public relations, told TSL that the college does not have anything to add to the CMS statement that was released Wednesday.

CMS Athletics and the college look to move past the incident for all parties involved, Graves said in the Thursday email to CMC students.

“The team is grappling with that loss, has taken accountability and will be working with CMS Athletics to restore and amplify the values of the program,” Graves said. 

The Dean of Students Office and CMS Athletics have provided mental health resources for the team members to help them cope with the repercussions of the Oct.1 hazing incident, according to Graves. 

“As is often the case in difficult times, the opportunities for growth and character building are significant, and we believe these student-athletes will be better versions of themselves as they emerge from this difficult moment,” the Oct. 12 CMS statement said. 

This is not the first time CMS Athletics has dealt with hazing incidents in recent years. In Feb. 2018, both the men’s and women’s track and field teams were suspended during a potential conduct violation investigation, with the men’s team eventually barred from three meets and some members of the women’s team barred from one. In April 2019, the CMS baseball team landed a one-week suspension and played the rest of the season on probation, after an investigation found they had violated the CMS hazing policy. In Oct. 2019, members of the CMS swim and dive teams were assigned “educational programming” after an investigation into alleged misconduct.

Prior to CMS’s decision to cancel the remainder of the season, the Stags sat at third in the SCIAC, with a conference record of 4-1-2 and an overall record of 4-3-5. The team was crowned SCIAC champions in 2021 and will now finish this season out of contention altogether.

With all activities off the table for the rest of the season, the team will also not compete in the 1946 Challenge, CMS’s annual athletics fundraising program.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly misattributed the quote “As is often the case in difficult times, the opportunities for growth and character building are significant, and we believe these student-athletes will be better versions of themselves as they emerge from this difficult moment,” to Dianna Graves. It has been updated to reflect that it came from the Oct. 12 CMS statement. TSL regrets this error.

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