EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – The University of Central Oklahoma Cheer Team was suspended after UCO officials found that team members were involved in hazing.
UCO President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar issued a news release on Saturday, announcing the suspension. The team is suspended for the remainder of the school year and will not be allowed to participate in national competitions for two years.
The news release states that the university was recently made aware of hazing within the team.
“Reports of hazing are approached swiftly and with great concern for the safety and well-being of our students. Hazing of any kind has no place at the university and will not be tolerated,” Neuhold-Ravikumar said.
School officials “promptly” investigated the allegations, according to the news release
“Following this thorough investigation, the decision has been made to suspend UCO cheer team operations and activities immediately through the end of the school year,” Neuhold-Ravikumar said. “The team also will not be allowed to participate in national competitions for two years.”
Individual team members who were found to be responsible for the hazing, which Neuhold-Ravikumar described as “unacceptable and abhorrent,” could face university sanctions, which include removal from the team and suspension from the university.
Team members who were not involved in the hazing will go through a membership review process and may be given the opportunity to try out for next year’s team, according to the news release.
The team and student organization leaders will be required to undergo training on hazing and bystander intervention practices.
“The UCO cheer team should embody the spirit of our community – encouraging us to give our best effort and to represent our university with pride and dignity. We consider our student organizations an extension of the university community and its values and we are committed to maintaining those standards,” Neuhold-Ravikumar said.