Volume 92, Issue 31

Thursday, October 29, 1998

behind closed doors


Mustangs apologize for hazing activity

By Ian Ross
Gazette Staff

The Western Mustang football team made a formal apology Tuesday for hazing practices which broke Western's code of conduct rules and resulted in university sanctions against the team.

In a hand-written letter composed by all seven members of ateam committee, the team as a collective unit took responsibility for the multiple incidents and apologized for those actions.

Part of the reason for the letter surrounded what the team felt was an unfair shift of responsibility to head coach Larry Haylor and away from the players. According to the committee's letter, "the responsibility lies on the shoulders of everyone involved with Western football, from the players to the coaching staff."

Committee members, who represent each unit on the team, discussed the issue with their players before meeting to discuss what the content of letter would outline. Those members were wide receiver Dan Disley, captain and fullback Craig Higgins, defensive back Ryan Lyons, running back Tyrone Borden, quarterback Mike O'Brien, linebacker Mark Chortos and offensive lineman Dennis Meston.

Disley, a fourth-year veteran of the team, felt it was time for the Mustangs to voice their opinion on the issue.

"This was something we thought we should do," Disley said.

"We took the letter to Larry [Haylor] on Monday and then to administration. Administration liked it and thought it was a good idea."

Chair of intercollegiate athletics, Darwin Semotiuk, was pleased the team took it upon themselves to make their apology public.

"The letter outlines two important things – they recognized responsibility and made an apology," Semotiuk said. "My reaction is very positive. The players have recognized that this is a serious issue."

Haylor, who has voluntarily stepped down for two games as part of the team sanctions, was happy his players recognized the failure to follow Western's intercollegiate athletics code of conduct and hopes this will be a wake-up call to all teams in regards to hazing practices.

The perception of initiation has changed a lot in recent years, Haylor commented and the football team as well as every other team on campus must follow that path as well.

"Society has moved to diminish this behavior, whether it be the boy scouts, fraternities or athletic clubs. Football has come a long, long way but we still have a greater distance to go," he said.

Some, however, didn't agree with the letter.

"By doing this by no means says it won't happen again," said second-year social science student Micheal Zaleu. "I don't know how meaningful a letter of apology is after the fact."

To Contact The News Department: gazette.news@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998