Scavenger hunt investigation closed

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On April 27, 2017 the Concordiensis released an article titled ‘Profane scavenger hunt unearthed in athletics’ reporting on a Google document that was allegedly shared among the athletic community. The Google document originated from one of the women’s athletic teams and was validated by the College. According to Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Stephen Leavitt and Director of Athletics Jim McLaughlin on April 25, the Google document, which they refer to as a “‘bucket list’ of activities to be engaged in for sport,” was “allegedly originated with one of the women’s athletic teams” and had been “widely shared among members of the campus community.” The Google document shared between the athletic teams instructed participants to form teams of two to five people. All actions executed by participants were required to be recorded or photographed for proof. Leavitt’s office, along with Campus Safety, conducted an investigation of the case in accordance with the Student Conduct Code. A response letter directed to administration and the campus community by the female athletic community titled ‘Female athletes vocalize unfair implications of scavenger hunt generalizations’ was written in response to the generalizations made in an email by Leavitt and McLaughlin to members of the campus community. This response letter was published by the Concordiensis on Thursday, May 11, 2017, and distinguished several errors in the original accusations made during the investigation. The female athletic community pointed out in the letter that only a few members of one women’s sports teams created the document, and that it was not solely shared among women’s sports teams, but with various male athletes and non-sport affiliated individuals as well. The letter emphasized the injustice of targeting all female athletes, and promoted the idea that the negative actions of a few individuals should not represent the entirety of the female athletic community. A closure to the investigation was recently released in an email by Leavitt on May 8, 2017, stating, “The Dean of Students office and Campus Safety investigation into the ‘scavenger hunt’ document has determined that the document was created by a few individual students and no evidence has been found that the document was initiated by any team or other campus group and did not in any manner constitute hazing.” The email also appreciated “students, particularly the student athletes, who brought this document to the attention of the administration and others who voiced that it was not appropriate.” It was reasserted that “the behaviors described in the document do not reflect Union College’s values, which embrace being a supportive and inclusive community.” It was also stated in the May 8 email that the College will follow their policies as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct. According to law, federal privacy law prohibits them from disclosing any details involving student disciplinary measures. Similarly, the names of those responsible for the document will not be released to the public.

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