Harvard athletic director Erin McDermott said hazing is not a part of the women’s ice hockey team’s culture, but acknowledged improvement still needs to be made within the program and the athletic department.
“Our current women’s ice hockey team has not fostered a culture of hazing,” McDermott said in a statement earlier this week. “However, it is clear that some traditions in recent years were experienced differently by different people and not all were comfortable with those activities or with expressing concerns relating to the program. We now have an opportunity to end team traditions that are harmful to team culture and inconsistent with our community norms.”
McDermott’s remarks come after a Harvard-commissioned investigation that was sparked by a January report by the Boston Globe.
The Globe, and later The Athletic, reported complaints against now former coach Katey Stone that date back over 20 years and included allegations of abusive coaching practices, at least one incident of racist language, and hazing behavior within the program. Even after the Boston Globe’s initial report, the hockey team carried out its tradition of a “Naked Skate” and also held its annual “Initiation Week,” according to the Athletic, though Stone was not present for those events.
The findings of the investigation, which was conducted by an outside law firm, have not been made public. Stone announced her retirement June 6 after 27 years coaching the Crimson.
McDermott said in her statement this week that the investigation’s findings offer “an opportunity for the athletics department to lead and foster a culture that reflects our values of mutual respect, support of one another, transparency in our processes and procedures, and a focus on the safety and dignity of our student-athletes.”
In an effort to achieve those goals, McDermott said that all student-athletes, coaches and administrators will receive instruction on how to report issues “without fear of retribution or reprisal.”
Harvard AD – No ‘culture of hazing’ on women’s hockey team