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Suspension of Dalhousie women’s hockey team stands after alleged hazing incident

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The president of Dalhousie University in Halifax has upheld a decision to suspend most of the school's women's hockey team after a hazing incident.

Senior players met Monday with Tom Traves and asked him to reverse the suspensions, which has forced the team to forfeit its season.

But the university said Wednesday that Traves was unswayed by the team's plea.

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"Following discussion at the meeting, Dr. Traves agreed to further consider their comments," said the statement. "Dr. Traves has now confirmed that the decision to suspend the players, other than the first year players, stands."

All but the team's rookie players were suspended Jan. 3 after the university investigated allegations of hazing at a private house party last September.

Dalhousie University has said the party involved excessive drinking, intimidation and humiliation, but won't elaborate because of privacy issues.

Players have accused the university of overreacting, saying no players were harmed during the evening or forced to take part in any activities.

The team has said rookies were dressed up in "odd clothing" and were asked to eat sardines, hot peppers and whipped cream. It said although there were drinking games, no one was forced to drink alcohol.

The team has also been critical of the way the university handled its investigation, alleging the school was aggressive and unfairly interrogated players.

The squad said Wednesday it is exploring its options with lawyer Ronald Pink, who could not be reached for comment.

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The team also released a copy of its remarks to Traves from Monday's meeting, in which it suggested alternate penalties, including performing 50 hours of community service.

The players apologized for the party and conceded that the university's hazing policy was violated. However, the statement goes on to say that players were unaware of the policy until last week and are still not sure what they did wrong.

"We have already apologized to the rookies and to others affected," the statement said.

"That said, what we did on Sept. 14 was exactly what was done to us, and what we have done each year over the past four years."

Former team captain Liz Matheson could not be reached for comment.

Dalhousie says it has a zero-tolerance policy on student hazing both on and off campus.

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The school's policy says "hazing or initiation can be in the form of voluntary or involuntary actions that relate to subjecting newcomers to degrading, embarrassing or abusive actions or activities."

Coaches are required to inform teams of the policy, but the statement from the women's hockey team says that never happened.

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