Hazing, Cheating, and Suspensions, Oh My

Swimmers Punished After Hazing Incident; Court Moves to Overturn Cheating Sanction

UCSB’s Athletics Department suspended the men’s and women’s swim teams after a parent complained two weeks ago about a hazing incident ​— ​reportedly circuits of beer chugging, push-ups, and vomiting. Upperclassmen men will each miss two games; the women will miss one. The swimmers won’t all be absent from the same game, so that the team does not skip any meets. Nevertheless, the punishment is the first time the department inflicted such a consequence. “I think it’s us … taking a stand that hazing won’t be tolerated within our program,” said Bill Mahoney, the athletics communications director. Judicial Affairs is also investigating the incident.

Judge Thomas Anderle, meanwhile, issued a tentative ruling this week, ordering Chancellor Henry Yang to overturn the two-quarter suspension inflicted on a sophomore for allegedly cheating on a math test. Last year, the then-19-year-old challenged her suspension in Superior Court.

Her attorney, Mark Hathaway, who specializes in student defense cases, argued the college’s administrative discipline process denied his client, who is identified only as Jane Doe in court documents, due process. Her professor, Sam Ballas, argued Doe and two students sitting next to her ​— ​whom she did not know ​— ​had the same type of mistakes and showed work in the same manner with suspiciously similar stylistic tendencies.

Anderle found that although there is “substantial” evidence to support an inference Doe copied the work of the student next to her, Judicial Affairs did not adequately inform Doe of the charges being filed against her “so as to provide a reasonable opportunity to respond.” According to court files, the university must reverse the two-quarter suspension but may hold another hearing on the case. Little is publically known about Judicial Affairs procedures outside of the student code of conduct handbook. Andrea Estrada, spokesperson for UCSB, declined to comment because the ruling is tentative. The case will return to court next Tuesday.

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