Rider cross country team’s naked run plan deemed ‘hazing’
An incident in which members of the Rider men's cross-country team were discovered planning to run naked around the school's track at night is being considered a hazing incident by school officials.
"The ensuing investigation revealed that no ill intent was involved, nor was there intent on the part of any of the team members to coerce participation," wrote university spokeswoman Kristine Brown in an email about the Sept. 5 incident. "Although no ill intent or coercion was involved, the team's behavior was unacceptable and is indeed considered hazing."
Brown didn't specify in her email what about the incident rose to that standard, absent the ill intent or coercion that she said weren't factors.
Officers from the school's Department of Public Safety found members of the team at night at the track preparing for the au natural run, Brown said. Alcohol was also found with the group, she said.
Brown said the students charged in the incident had their cases processed through Rider’s Office of Community Standards as outlined in Rider’s Student Code of Social Conduct.
"Some individuals have been charged (by the university, non-criminally with alcohol violations and hazing," wrote Brown.
The Rider student handbook's definition of hazing is an incident in which a person is trying to join a team or group, and "any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally risks the mental, psychological or physical wellbeing of a student with or without his consent; which requires or encourages violation of public law or University policy; or, which may tend to ridicule, mistreat, degrade, humiliate or harass any individual" takes place.
Consequences for the school violation could vary and could cost an organization its university recognition.
The handbook also warns hazing is a violation of New Jersey law and could result in criminal prosecution. It's not immediately clear why police would not have been notified. NJ 101.5 is reaching out to the school and local police for further clarification.
The incident resulted in the team being suspended from participating in an invitational meet on the Rider campus on Sept. 19, Brown said. A practice immediately following the incident was suspended as well.