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University of Central Oklahoma suspending cheer team over hazing reports

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Posted at 10:45 AM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 12:49:22-04

EDMOND, Okla. — The University of Central Oklahoma is suspending its cheerleading team due to reports of hazing.

The president of the school, Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar, made the announcement in a letter to students, faculty and staff Saturday.

Neuhold-Ravikumar didn’t provide details about what happened, but said, “hazing of any kind has no place at the university and will not be tolerated.”

Neuhold-Ravikumar wrote that an investigation was conducted after receiving notice of the reports. Following the probe, the president said the university decided to suspend its cheer team operations and activities through the end of the school year.

The team will also not be able to participate in national competitions for two years, according to Neuhold-Ravikumar.

She wrote that individual team members found responsible for the “unacceptable and abhorrent activities” may face university sanctions, including removal from the team and suspension from the school.

Team members found to not be involved in the activities will undergo a membership review process and may be given the opportunity to try out for next year’s team.

Training on hazing and bystander intervention practices will also be required for the cheer team and for the leadership of all student organizations, Neuhold-Ravikumar said.

“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,” wrote Neuhold-Ravikumar. “We consider our student organizations an extension of the university community and its values and we are committed to maintaining those standards.”