A pair of University of Kansas cheerleaders recently spoke to the Collegian, Kansas State’s student paper, and detailed the way their team hazed six first-year cheerleaders at a children’s summer camp event in July 2017.
The cheerleading squad was placed on probation for one year in Sept. 2017 after the university acknowledged investigating hazing allegations that July, eventually ruling they’d violated the KU Student Code’s rules regarding organizational responsibility, harm to persons, and hazing. The incident in question took place on July 25, and the school began looking into it three days later.
The Collegian’s report is the first report to go into detail about what happened the night of July 25. At the end of the summer camp event, according to the two cheerleaders, the six first-year team members were apparently told to meet by the football stadium wearing running shoes. After running up and down a hill a few times, they say they were instructed to lay on the ground as cheerleaders and alumni blindfolded them, led them into separate cars, and drove them to a vacant house to be hazed. One cheerleader said she was placed inside a washing machine and the other says she was put into a cardboard box, which people were “banging on the sides.”
The two cheerleaders say they were then asked questions, and if they missed one, they were forced to remove an article of clothing. They said all eventually all six new members were naked, after which they were moved around the house in view of male alumni:
Then, all six of the team’s new members were led, naked, into another room, one of the sources said.
“I remember getting put into a big laundry basket,” one said. “I was shaken around and stuff.”
Later, the source said she was moved to another room in the house.
“I had taken my blindfold off along with another girl sitting next to me,” she said, “and two alumni guys walked in and saw us naked.”
They say a group of veteran cheerleaders and alumni then berated their appearance and skills, and told them they didn’t deserve to be on the team. When they tried to bring up the ritual, which they say is a regular occurrence, their pleas fell on evidently deaf ears:
“In meetings we had with [head coach] Lyndsay [Marriott], she always skipped over anything about the hazing and turned it around to say that we do things that are bad too and that the older girls were not getting punished for it so we just needed to move on,” a source said. “They never call it the hazing either, they always say ‘the event’ or ‘what happened in the summer’ because they know it was wrong but didn’t want the older girls to be in trouble.”
The cheer team was suspended shortly after the incident, and in January, three KU fraternities were shut down amid hazing allegations.