As many readers most likely know, the St. Olaf Men’s baseball team recently had its season canceled due to issues arising from the hazing of underclassman team members. This hazing involved harassment, ridicule and the consumption of alcohol by minors – all violations of the school’s hazing policies.
I can understand where the administration’s decision came from. Many students I have interacted with have professed disbelief about the incident, mostly regarding around the seriousness of the hazing. Yes, there have been much worse cases of hazing in the past at many institutions across the nation, but that is not the point. Even if the hazing was “not that bad,” schools like St. Olaf cannot make exceptions for every incident because those exceptions would eventually undermine the policy against it.
St. Olaf’s hazing policy is very similar to the drinking policy on campus. Everyone knows St. Olaf is a “dry” campus, but I have yet to see a large-scale level of enforcement for every student who drinks on campus. It has gotten to a point where the school’s policies on drinking can best be described as fairly lenient. If St. Olaf were to take this leisurely approach in regard to hazing, too many incidents would most likely go unnoticed. At that point, these actions would create an environment unsuitable to the culture that St. Olaf wishes to provide. I can understand why many students, particularly members of the baseball team, might feel that these actions are too severe. However, when it comes to school policies that involve the well-being of students even if nobody was physically harmed, exceptions cannot be made.
Despite the seriousness of the whole issue, there is definitely humor to be found, particularly in the fact that the entire process was more or less discovered by administrators through the social media application Yik Yak. Yes, kids, you actually are being watched by the authorities, but they are not out to get everyone in trouble for violating school policies.
In fact, considering that almost every single post on the app was about the baseball team, students on campus are most likely the reason that the team got in trouble in the first place. That’s right, St. Olaf. You have become your own police force via Yik Yak, so don’t complain the next time you get busted by Public Safety or your RA down the hallway. Maybe this is simply a warning from the administration that despite our belief that Yik Yak is anonymous, it still has consequences. This is another learning experience brought to you by St. Olaf College.
I just hope that students can let the whole situation pass so players, staff and faculty can move on from the incident. There will be plenty more seasons to come and these issues hopefully put a stop to hazing for good, allowing for a safe environment that nurtures learning and camaraderie here on the Hill.
Cole Hatzky ’18 firstname.lastname@example.org is from Iowa City, Iowa. He majors in English.