The men’s Ultimate Frisbee team has been placed on probation in response to an email accidentally sent to first-year members. The email contained language that was hostile towards new members.
On Tuesday, September 4, the first-year Frisbee members received an email inviting them to attend a social gathering the following Thursday evening. Shortly thereafter, a second email—which included language derogatory toward underclassmen and was intended to be seen by only the team’s upperclass members—was mistakenly sent to the same group of first-year students. A third email was sent hours later to apologize and clarify the team’s commitment to welcoming new members.
According to the website of the Dean of Students Office, “Bowdoin maintains a zero-tolerance policy regarding hazing, which is strictly prohibited.” Director of Student Activities Nate Hintze emphasized that though the College is taking the incident seriously, the team will not face official sanctions.
“It’s hard just to label it, [with] a blanket statement saying ‘this is hazing,’” Hintze said. “With some of the instances it’s much better to sit down with the team and say ‘where are we at with some of the culture of bringing people in?’”
Hintze has met with both captains and team members from all class years to discuss the Frisbee team’s social culture.
The current probationary status is ongoing. Hintze intends to continue conversations about inclusion in the team’s evolving culture.
“[Probation] was basically a way to make sure the team is clear that we want to have a dialogue and are clear about that is going to look like,” Hintze said. “It was a way to send a warning to make sure we open up better lines of dialogue between the administration and the team.”