April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Lauren Paul, who won a national championship as the women’s lacrosse coach at Franklin & Marshall College, was fired by the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, school after an investigation into a hazing complaint.
Paul was dismissed yesterday, and a group of junior and senior players was suspended for the rest of the season for planning and carrying out the hazing, which occurred last year, Kent Trachte, the school’s dean, wrote in a letter sent to members of the college community.
The hazing wasn’t described and the students involved weren’t identified.
“F&M takes any allegation of hazing very seriously and has strong and clear policies against any form of hazing as part of our deep commitment to safeguarding student health, safety and well-being,” Trachte wrote.
The school’s formal investigation began April 10, after information about the hazing at an unsanctioned student-organized event was provided anonymously to the Lancaster Police Department, Trachte said.
“We make student athletes aware that there is a zero-tolerance policy against any form of hazing, and our coaches are responsible both for conveying and stewarding this policy,” Cass Cliatt, F&M’s spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. “Not only is hazing a violation of our rules of conduct, it is against state law, and we cannot allow any activity in which students endanger themselves or others.”
Paul, a three-time All-American lacrosse player at Franklin & Marshall, took over as coach before the 2008-09 season and led the Diplomats to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III national championship in her first year. It was the program’s second title in three seasons.
Paul has been replaced by Melissa Mariano, who also coaches women’s field hockey. The lacrosse team is scheduled to play at Gettysburg College tonight.
The school cited the federal Family and Educational Rights and Policy Act in refusing to identify the suspended players. The current roster and past statistics sheets showed 11 players no longer listed, including seven of the team’s 10 top scorers. The players remain enrolled at the school, Cliatt said.
A three-year study into college hazing released by the University of Maine in 2008 found that 74 percent of those who were members of a varsity sports team experienced at least one incident of hazing.
Franklin & Marshall was established in 1787 with a gift of 200 British pounds from Benjamin Franklin and merged in 1853 with Marshall College, which was named after U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall. The school has an enrollment of 2,200.
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