The outrage over the University of Delaware rugby team’s treatment by their university has been growing.
|Friends of University of Delaware Rugby are asking the rugby community to help. They want you to give your Two Cents by donating $0.02 to the University of Delaware, designating that donation for Delaware Men’s Rugby. |
This donation that will serve to a) annoy the University and b) show the support for the rugby team.
Follow this link to donate.
Choose "New Gift" in the drop-down menu.
Under Give To: Choose Other, and write in Delaware Men's Rugby, and donate $0.02.
Feel free to leave a note in the special instructions.
A large group of parents and alumni have begun contacting the Delaware Administration to complain about the five-year suspension handed down for a party that went out of control but did not seem to be connected with the rugby team in anything more than the most minuscule way.
These letter-writers have not received any contact from the Administration, and that has made the alumni and parents even angrier.
With the letters have come some more details on the case, including:
1. The street gathering that was initially characterized as a “near riot” by an
inexperienced student reporter, and was later called a “disorderly incident” by local police, actually occurred about one mile away from the location of the initial party.
2. That initial party was put on by some students, two of whom were Delaware rugby players. Those players had agreed beforehand not to promote the party as a rugby team party, and maintained that as the case.
Only a sloppily-reported student report (writer was Jack Coburn) connected the party with the rugby team. (We are changing this sentence and the reference to inexperience earlier, because it's unfair. Jack Coburn is an experienced young reporter who was working on deadline. Some of the things he reported were not quite right, but he was relying on sources. Still, this article, and its wording, including in the editor's headline, were hugely influential in the case going forward. - AG)
3. The University stated in their last statement on the case, that social media posts had indicated that the party was a rugby team party. As it turns out, reports are that of the 1,200 tweets and posts discussing the party, only seven referred to the rugby team. In addition, the rugby team officers told the team the event was NOT a rugby team event.
The Administration told the rugby team officers that they hadn’t done enough to stop the party (apparently ignoring the fact that the University officials had done nothing to stop the thousands of students from showing up), and that’s why they were suspended.
4. A letter-writer pointed out that the University may have violated their own Office of Student Conduct rules when they trolled through social media to build their case.
As the FAQs on the University’s site say:
Information posted to sites such as Facebook.com, mySpace.com and the like can be very damaging to a student’s reputation and may show the student in an unflattering light. The Office of Student Conduct does not search on-line for pictures, video, postings, etc. of students violating policies, nor does the Office charge students solely on such on-line information. However, if a member of the University community brings information of alleged violations to the attention of the Office of Student Conduct, it is possible that this information will be forwarded to the appropriate University office for further investigation. If that subsequent investigation determines signs of a violation, then charges may be applied and the information originally sent to the Office of Student Conduct could be used as part of the information presented during a hearing.
Of course, a “member of the University community” could be anybody.
In addition, see the letter below. This letter was written by former Delaware player Pat Mullarkey. Mullarkey's grandfather, Gerald Doherty, is in the Delaware sports Hall of Fame for his service to the school.
His letter, as have many others, has been completely ignored by a Delaware Administration that refuses to back up its decision.
Dear Faculty and Staff Members for the University of Delaware,
I can’t tell you how disappointed and angry I am with the University’s decision to suspend the rugby program for five years. First let me explain what rugby and especially the University of Delaware’s rugby team has meant to me. My family has a rather large list of alumni that went to the University of Delaware. Along with myself the list includes my brother, parents, uncle, grandfather, and my great grandfather Gerald “Doc” Doherty who is in the Universities sports hall of fame (Known for keeping the University’s Sports programs alive during and post WWII).
Not mention when I attended the University I had five cousins there at one time. Being from Delaware no on takes more pride in this great University than me. So when I learned of the University’s decision to ban rugby I found it very disheartening. Not only because of the severity of the consequence, but because it goes against every principle I learned at the University. In Dr. Ken Haas’ class “The Prisoner and You”, I learned the theories behind sentencing. I think Ken Haas would agree that the sentencing should be for rehabilitation not for retributivism. Seeing as you have already taken action against those directly involved I see no reason to punish the rugby team most of whom had no connection whatsoever to the alleged riot. Let me finish by saying my finest moments at the University were because of rugby.
As a sophomore we held the number one ranking in the entire country and attended nationals only to lose to the defending national champs. As a senior I scored twice on national television to give my team the win. Even as freshmen I met the girl I currently date at a rugby funded barbeque. Watching my brother run around in his yellow and blue jersey as a young boy I had dreams of one day attending this great University and wearing the same uniform. My dream came true but for those at the University now and those hoping to attend, their dream has been crushed. We cannot hold the majority responsible for the actions of a few. This is not what I was taught and it is surely not what I learned.
Patrick K. Mullarkey
Class of 2012
New York, NY