Drury forms panel to outline best practices for combating hazing

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., January 23, 2016 — Drury University President Dr. Tim Cloyd announced today that he has tasked swimming and diving head coach Brian Reynolds, along with Athletic Director Mark Fisher and Dean of Students Tijuana Julian, to create and lead a task force that will examine the issue of college hazing with the goal of creating best practices that can be applied at Drury, and nationwide.

As a part of that process, Reynolds will step away from daily coaching duties for a time in order to help focus on building the necessary foundation for the group’s process and procedures. The group will include members of the entire Drury community, including representation from faculty, staff, students and alumni.

The news was discussed at a news conference held this afternoon. The following are statements from the conference.

 

Statement from President Cloyd:

“Throughout my career, I have been deeply concerned any time I have been made aware of any individual being adversely affected by their experiences at an institution of higher education. It represents the exact opposite of what we as educators promote as our very mission. Institutions of higher education have always aspired to be a places that serve to advance society by educating, shaping and maturing each individual, one person at a time, to help build them up to their highest potential.

“Universities also by their nature are places where all sorts of issues are open to robust debate, varying thoughts, opposing positions, varied opinions, even arguments on subjects are heard, but let me assure you that on an issue as important as hazing, the only discussion has to be about how to eliminate it. Not minimize it. Not nostalgically idealize it, not secretly sanctify it, but to ELIMINATE it.

“Since my arrival this summer, I have had extensive discussions with AD Mark Fisher and more recently with Swim Coach Brian Reynolds and our Dean of Students Dr. Tijuana Julian and I have issued to them a firm challenge and directive to put in place a program that meets or perhaps sets news standards for assuring that the practice of hazing will not be part of any activity at the institution.

“You all know that since the incident reports of this summer regarding 2015, the policies were strengthened to include a more severe set of punishments including a clear use of expulsion from the team when determined appropriate. This fall the team also brought in a nationally recognized speaker/educator to address the entire program. But at the end of the day, Coach Reynolds and I and AD Fisher all agree that more is needed.

“He has agreed to step back from his day-to-day coaching responsibilities to devote his full attention to this matter and develop the foundational components of this program. In my discussions with Coach Reynolds over the past few weeks, I have asked him about, and he has shared with me the specifics of the steps he has taken each year to educate and instruct his team members as a group, their captains and co-captains, and the coaching staff, informing them all clearly that hazing in any form is prohibited. I am further convinced that Coach Reynolds has devoted a good portion of his career working to learn and incorporate into his practices strong instructional and educational efforts to discourage and prevent this egregious behavior.

“And once we have formalized what we consider to be our best approach to accomplishing this objective, the policies, procedures and behavioral practices will be enacted with authority given from the office of the president and with the support of our governing board of trustees to ensure that everyone understands and abides by them.

“I read this weekend the editorial in the Springfield News-Leader challenging Drury University to do more in this area and my response is that we were and are in the process of doing more. I appreciate that the SNL shares our understanding that this is not a simple issue. And that, at times, what one might think would be a sufficient set of rules and instructions to instill a sense of proper behavior, requires vigilance and a deep commitment of purpose in order to keep adverse events from occurring over time as new groups of students come into a program.

“I have challenged my team to complete this task over the next weeks and I will be sharing details of our progress within our university community and with you in the media.”

 

Statement from Coach Brian Reynolds:

“What we have been challenged to do is develop a comprehensive program for ensuring that the behavior is completely eliminated from the Drury University swim program, athletics in general and campus wide.

“In discussions with Dr. Cloyd, who took over as president this past summer, and AD Fisher, we all agree that a more definitive program is in order – one structured to ensure that hazing in all forms is formally and clearly defined and eliminated from the campus

“I have shared with Dr. Cloyd and AD Fisher my desire to focus my attention on this matter in support of the university, our athletic programs and specifically the swim program so that this type of incident does not happen ever again.

“I have devoted my entire life to building up young adult athletes in the highest standards of competitive integrity and personal responsibility. I have devoted specific time and effort each year to instruct my teams on the issue of hazing and to instill in them that it has no place in our program.

“Many of you know me, and you know my personal commitment to this program and to young people. The last thing I would ever condone is activity that could harm or inflict damage either physically or emotionally on any of our student athletes.

“I plan to commit my full-time attention to this matter over the coming weeks and to apply all of my efforts to establishing a set of components that will leave no room for this type of activity to ever occur again.

“The foundation will be laid in time. We will take the necessary time needed to examine the issues as they relate to the Drury community. We do play a role on the national stage in more than one of our sports programs and I want this program to clearly demonstrate our commitment to taking this issue seriously.

“Everyone who assumes the mantle of coach takes by the nature of the job responsibility. I have spoken to students throughout my entire career on this subject. To conclude that this behavior is somehow condoned or ignored is simply not true.

“Every fall I counsel my entire team, and then in separate meetings, my captains and co-captians about this.

“Because of my 33 years of experience in NCAA athletics, my love of athletics, and thousands of student-athletes I’ve worked with, I feel a deep responsibility to help Drury University address this issue and create a national model in combating this kind of behavior. Of all the things I’ve done to this point in my career, I cannot think of a single action or goal that is more important than this one.

“This kind of behavior is out of character for the student-athletes that I know. But unfortunately, it has happened. It must be addressed.”

 

Statement from Athletic Director Mark Fisher:

“As I said last week, I have made it clear to our coaches and student-athletes that we will not tolerate such behavior. I am glad coach Reynolds has accepted Dr. Cloyd’s challenge to address this issue on a broader scale moving forward. I’m happy to work side by side with Coach Reynolds and Dr. Julian in the leadership of that process.

“Coach Reynolds has asked to step away from day-to-day coaching duties for a period of time in order to lay the groundwork for that process. In the meantime, assistant coach Doug Schranck will take over day-to-day duties as the team prepares for the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships and the NCAA-II nationals.”

 

Statement from Vice President of Student Affairs & Dean of Students, Dr. Tijuana Julian:

“We have a number of task forces on campus to address various issues and this group will further that approach. It will include members of the entire Drury community, including representation from faculty, staff, students and alumni. Some of the other issues that groups are tasked with addressing include Diversity & Inclusion, Gender Equity, Bystander Intervention Training and overall campus safety. I led the effort to strengthen our policies on hazing this year, and I’m looking forward to the work ahead of us as we dive deeper into the issue and continue to strengthen our stance on the issue.”