Men’s volleyball team suspended for rest of season

The St. Thomas University men’s volleyball team has been suspended for the remainder of the season following a university investigation into the Oct. 23 hazing incident on campus that preceded the death of Andrew Bartlett.

"They've been punished all the way through this because they have lost a friend and we can't lose sight of that," said St. Thomas University president Dennis Cochrane of the decision to suspend the men's volleyball team for the rest of their season (Tom Bateman/AQ)

“In no way does this indicate that the volleyball team players are responsible for Andrew Bartlett’s death,” university president Dennis Cochrane said.  “That was an unfortunate circumstance, but our action is predicated on the fact that we have very clear policies. Hazing is not acceptable at St. Thomas University, rookie parties are not acceptable, and events where individuals are identified and treated in an unreasonable and inappropriate manner are not acceptable.”

The team will not face any academic penalties, but Cochrane said team members will be required to attend a session on responsible drinking and organize clinics for high school students.  A letter will be put in each player’s academic and athletic file until these conditions have been met.

“This is not meant to be a permanent blight on their reputation.  It’s meant to be a ramification of their behaviour which was unacceptable.”

Cochrane said the next step for the university is to work on enhancing its student code of conduct.

“Our review of the policy is not just going to talk about athletics, it’s going to talk about a student code of conduct,” he said.  “Everybody knows we have expectations of our students, but sometimes we haven’t made it as clear.”

To perform this review, Cochrane said he will form a president’s advisory committee to look at behaviour in academics, athletics, residence and student life on campus. He expects the review to be completed by the end of the year.

Bartlett, a fourth year English major and rookie player on the men’s volleyball team, was found dead in the stairwell of his Montgomery Street apartment on Oct. 24.   On Dec. 8, police confirmed the death was the result of an accidental fall and although no details were released related to his blood-alcohol level, it was acknowledged that alcohol was a factor.

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