Saint Joseph University softball team, with 9 NJ players, faces hazing allegations
Members of the Saint Joseph's University women's softball team say they are "devastated" by allegations of hazing made against the team that includes nine members from New Jersey.
6 ABC first reported the team was undergoing an internal investigation by the Philadelphia school over activities that took place during what the team called "Deliverance Week."
Underclassmen were notified via a written note that it was time for them to show respect to the upperclassmen or face "dire" consequences.
The students were allegedly instructed to drink alcohol, perform graphic sex acts and lap dances at the home of an upperclassman. It's not the first time underclassmen have been hazed, according to 6 ABC. School policy "prohibits all forms of hazing" in accordance with Pennsylvania state law and the belief that it goes against the Catholic school's "Christian teaching."
In a statement to NBC 10, the school said, "SJU is taking these allegations very seriously and is well into a comprehensive investigation of the matter." The school says they have already taken "remedial actions" as the investigation continues.
The team's statement was issued in the student newspaper and did not address specific allegations.
"As you have likely seen, they are serious and not to be taken lightly – but the buzzwords reported by the media do not capture the spirit of our culture," reads the statement which says the team has "the utmost respect for each other and this school."
The Division 1 team, currently in second place in the Atlantic 10, include members who previously played at Red Bank Catholic, Allentown High School, the Peddie School in Hightstown, Clearview Regional in Mullilca Hill Fair Lawn and Wayne.
The team canceled its scheduled game with Rider University in Lawrence on Tuesday e afternoon and is scheduled to play again on Saturday.
- St. Joseph's University Softball Team Responds to Hazing Allegations / NBC 10
- Members of St. Joseph's Softball Team release statement on hazing allegations / 6 ABC
HAWKS SOFTBALL TEAM FULL STATEMENT
In response to media reports that you may have heard about or seen on the SJU softball team, we wanted to address our community directly. We hope you’ll read this letter without any bias.
We live, eat and breathe SJU softball. We love our school – the field we play on, the public safety officers that come to our games, our coaches that dedicate so much time and energy to our development, and the community that allows us to wear the Hawks logo on our uniforms.
As a team, we are devastated by the allegations and resulting reports that have come about in recent weeks. We take an immense amount of pride in our program, and the thought of our community thinking less of our character is the hardest piece to swallow.
We respect the ongoing investigation and the officials involved and cannot address specific allegations at this time. As you have likely seen, they are serious and not to be taken lightly – but the buzzwords reported by the media do not capture the spirit of our culture.
What we can tell you right now is this: we have the utmost respect for each other and this school. Every person on our team – past and present – is family. We hold each other accountable and we support each other on and off the field. We make each other better as players and as people.
If you have a class with us, share a dorm with us, eat with us in the cafeteria, we ask you this: let your gut determine the kind of people we are, and hold off on judgment in light of recent reports. Though we cannot discuss specific allegations right now, we can work to maintain your trust and respect.
It is our hope that you haven’t lost faith in us. We are facing allegations head on and with our heads held high. Hawk Hill is too important to us to do anything less.
Members of the SJU Softball Team