The Office of Residential Life (ResLife) has placed Ladd House on probation until November 1 as part of the response to last week’s Epicuria party. Both the president and vice president of Ladd, where the campus-wide toga party took place, voluntarily stepped down from their positions this week.
Ladd faced disciplinary consequences for what Director of Residential Life Mary Pat McMahon referred to as “an unregistered pre-event with hard alcohol prior to Epicuria.”
Under the terms of the probation, Ladd House cannot host registered events with alcohol before November 1.
“If there’s an unregistered event while they’re on house probation, it’s a problem for any of the individuals in the house who are there at the time,” said McMahon.
ResLife did not require Ladd’s president and vice president to abdicate their offices, but they chose to step down in light of the incident. Re-elections for the vacant officer positions in the house have yet to take place.
Residents of Ladd House declined to comment for this story.
Details have also continued to surface regarding the men’s rugby team, which was found to have violated the College’s hazing policy on the night of Epicuria.
Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster did not disclose what specifically constituted hazing in this case, but emphasized the fact that the College responded to both hazing and a general “abdication of leadership.”
“There were a series of things that happened that were inappropriate. Certainly in terms of our policy on hazing, it’s not a matter of one aspect of that policy being violated; it’s a matter of multiple aspects being violated. Hazing absolutely occurred,” said Foster.
Two underage members of the rugby team were transported to Parkview Adventist Medical Center due to overconsumption of alcohol. One was transported from Coleman Hall at 8:52 p.m. and the other from Union Street at 8:53, according to the Times Record.
Additionally, two members of the team received legal summonses at the Union Street event, both related to underage drinking.
Hours before the official Epicuria event, the rugby team arrived at Thorne Dining Hall for dinner dressed in togas and behaving raucously, according to several students.
“The team came in wearing togas and were chanting and running around the room. And then a freshman stood on a table with a blow up donkey or horse and yelled something like, Epicuria has been declared! Come to Ladd at 10! and the team started singing,” recalled Ellery Maya-Altshuler ’15.
“They sprinted two laps around the dining hall,” confirmed Lucy Green ’15, “before the freshman in the horse costume made the announcement.”
Men’s rugby alumnus Doug MacKinnon ’71, who played rugby when the sport was first introduced to the campus in 1969, posted his opinion of the College’s response to Epicuria on the “Bowdoin Rugby Alumni” Facebook group last week.
“I’m an unsympathetic alum vis-a-vis drinking and hazing as the Dean outlined in the posting to which I’m responding,” wrote MacKinnon. “The knee-jerk association of madcap, drunken, and brawling fun that is often associated with ‘rugby players’ does very little to gain the sport the regard that I think it deserves.”
The verdict that the rugby team violated Bowdoin’s hazing policy has led to comparisons to last year’s hazing incident involving the Meddiebempsters a cappella group.
After an extended investigation led by the Student Organization Oversight Committee (SOOC), the Meddies were banned from performing at College events between November 4 and March 10. The group also had to submit a written revision of its initiation event and agree to SOOC oversight of its subsequent auditions and initiation events.
This year, the men’s rugby team had to forfeit two games, one against the University of Maine at Orono and one against Colby College.
“The consequence in this case for the rugby team is significant. By forfeiting two games, the team will have lost a third of its season and in essence be ineligible for post-season competition,” Foster wrote in an email to the Orient.
The Meddies hazing case directly involved Bowdoin Student Government (BSG), which conducted its own hearing through the SOOC.
After Epicuria, however, Foster led an investigation team comprised of the Deans of Student Affairs, Security, Student Life, Student Activities, and ResLife.
“I needed to act quickly to get information,” said Foster. “I respect the BSG constitution and everything else, but quite honestly this is a disciplinary matter. That’s one of the responsibilities entrusted to me and I acted accordingly.”
“We have no role in doling out punishments, social probation, or anything like that. That’s not up to us,” said Sarah Levin ’13, BSG vice president for student affairs.
“They’re a club, so we were expecting a little more communication, but we weren’t at all worried about it,” added Brian Kim ’13, BSG vice president for student organizations. “Given our constitution, given the by-laws of the SOOC, if it is a club matter then it’s not necessarily our jurisdiction, but we definitely need to be part of the conversation.”
Foster explained to the rugby team he would be surprised if the SOOC didn’t “also take some kind of action” in response to Epicuria, given that the club team is a chartered organization and at least partially receives support from BSG’s Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC).
Kim agreed, naming possibilities such as leadership seminars and conferences, establishing better communication in the chain-of-command, and discussing what the team can do as a club to learn from the incident and move forward.
“We met as an executive team and decided that the way we wanted to deal with this is not punitive,” said Kim. “What we need to do is provide venues of support and guidance to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
“The SAFC does not have any plans to take any additional action. Any response that would occur would be part of a BSG response in coordination with administrators,” added Charlie Cubeta ’13, BSG vice president for the treasury, in an email to the Orient.
At the moment, however, BSG has no plans to pursue any further punitive measures against the rugby team. Both Foster and McMahon declined to share any details regarding the College’s response toward individual students.
“My preference would be that those who are the offenders or encourage the offenders in their actions be weeded out of the organization before the club is no longer part of the Bowdoin scene,” wrote MacKinnon, the rugby alumnus.