Update: The Towson cheerleader hazing scandal involving Baltimore university involved alcohol, among other things. Although the incident involving Maryland cheerleaders took place in 2013, details of the off-campus event have emerged only recently, citing a June 5 Travelers Today news report on this developing story.
Hazing among cheerleaders is a rare topic discussed in news reports, but according to sources, it may be more widespread than expected. And although the event at the Maryland college doesn't compare to more serious incidents of fraternity and university hazing events -- some involving serious injury and death – it is still a matter that worries campus officials.
Hazing among Towson University cheerleaders first came to light when officials received an anonymous telephone call about inappropriate contact and potential violations of university policies regarding pledging and initiation among groups.
The caller said new freshmen were invited to a cheering camp located off of campus grounds. There, girls interested in permanent membership with the cheer-leading squad, were invited to funnel beer and take alcoholic shots. Additionally, pledges were made to wear diapers over their shorts and do other demeaning things.
There were no reports of injury. But after an internal investigation by school authorities, Towson cheerleaders who took part in the hazing of pledges were suspended for an entire year. Since then, the punishment doled out has been reduced.
Arguably, the Towson cheerleader hazing scandal is tame, compared to an incident involving a sorority at the University of Connecticut (UCONN). There, members of Kappa Kappa Gamma came under fire recently for bacon hazing allegations ( video here). Imagine that?
Many are calling the event at the school in Maryland degrading and "morally wrong."
Perhaps, Jana Varwig, V.P. for student affairs said, best summed up the hazing of cheerleaders at Towson:
You're asked to do something you might not want to do, but you think you might have to do it because that is how you become a member of the organization. That's the power dynamic that's there."