Now that two Boston University ice hockey players have been accused of separate sex crimes against women in recent months, the school president has called for the creation of a task force to investigate the team. The task force will be charged with determining whether the hockey team's "culture and climate" created the sort of conditions that caused the players to allegedly act with such aggression toward women. President Robert A. Brown's letter announcing the plan, which was emailed to all students today and posted on the university's website, took pains to avoid passing judgment on the specific charges in the two cases, leaving that for the courts. But the letter makes it clear the university has issued its own indictment of the hockey team's "influence on the behavior of student athletes in our campus community." The "University-level judgment," the letter says, is that "something systemic or habitual may foster a team climate that does not comport with the highest standards of conduct we seek to maintain."
Senior forward Corey Trivino—the Terriers' leading scorer at the time—was arrested in December after he allegedly barged into a female resident assistant's room three times in a matter of minutes. Each time, Trivino is accused of trying to kiss and grope the RA before finally lying down on her bed and insisting he was sleeping there. Trivino has pleaded not guilty and was thrown off the team. The second incident happened this past weekend, when junior defenseman Max Nicastro allegedly raped a woman on campus. He, too, has been kicked off the hockey team.
Hockey is to BU what football is to most BCS schools, and the Terriers are perennially ranked nationally. A few years back, members of the team put out a rap song that's about as listenable as you'd expect a rap song done by a college hockey team to be. It's called "Party Like A Puck Star," and you can hear it above. It opens with the line "I'm on a bitch-bangin' mission" and also includes the lovely phrase "I'll make your pussy numb."
Here is the text of President Brown's entire letter:
Dear Colleagues and Students:
For decades the Boston University men's ice hockey team has been a source of tremendous pride for the Boston University community, on and off the ice. Our student athletes have competed at the highest level of collegiate ice hockey and united generations of students, alumni, and friends who cheer for their success and admire their accomplishments.
Today we find ourselves at a crossroads for the men's ice hockey program and the University. As has been extensively reported, two members of our team have been charged with assault this academic year. These charges, if ultimately substantiated, involve reprehensible acts. The Boston University community expects that our student athletes, as representatives of the University, adhere to the same high standards to which we hold all members of our community and which reflect the mission and aspirations of our university.
The charges in these cases understandably lead to questions about whether the hockey team's culture and climate have contributed in some way to the actions of the two individuals. The University must address these questions and, if deficiencies are identified, make appropriate and necessary changes.
I am writing to let you know that I am forming a task force of University trustees, overseers, faculty, and staff which will be charged with studying the culture and climate of the men's ice hockey team and its influence on the behavior of student athletes in our campus community. I stress that the constitution of the task force does not reflect a judgment about the specific facts in the two cases of alleged assault. The determination of both cases must be left to the judicial system.
The constitution of the task force does, however, reflect a University-level judgment that the two incidents indicate something systemic or habitual may foster a team climate that does not comport with the highest standards of conduct we seek to maintain for all members of our community.
I launch this task force with the full support of Head Coach Jack Parker, Athletic Director Mike Lynch, and Bob Knox, Chairman of our Board of Trustees. Coach Parker told The Boston Globe, "I hope it's a horrible coincidence. I don't want this to be the culture of our team, and if it is, we'll change it." Coach Parker's comment is exactly right.
The membership of the task force, its charge, and its work plan will be announced in the next several weeks. The goal is for the task force to offer the University a thoughtful and impartial assessment of the culture and climate of our team, with a view to answering the question whether that culture and climate could have contributed to actions that, in turn, led to criminal charges. I will ask to have a report from the task force early in the summer so that we can begin to address any issues in the coming academic year.
Working together, we will do whatever is necessary to restore the Boston University community's confidence in the men's ice hockey program. I look forward to reporting to you on our progress.
Robert A. Brown