Cheerleaders at an Oklahoma college were blindfolded, asked about their sexual preferences, plied with alcohol even though they are underage, and made to perform lap dances as part of a hazing ritual, it has been alleged.
The revelations were made following the University of Central Oklahoma’s decision on Saturday to suspend its cheerleading squad for the rest of the school year and banned it from national competitions for two years.
The alleged hazing took place in August, according to Willow McClendon, a member of the cheerleading squad who authored a post about the incidents on Instagram.
News of the alleged hazing was first reported by The Vista, which is the student newspaper at UCO’s main campus in Edmond.
UCO President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar’s office on Saturday announced that the cheer team would be shut down for the remainder of the school year.
The University of Central Oklahoma on Saturday announced that the cheerleading squad would be shut down for the rest of the school year and banned from national competitions for two years after members reported allegations of hazing. The undated file photo above shows a member of the UCO cheer team
‘Recently, the university was made aware of reports of hazing on the UCO cheer team,’ Neuhold-Ravikumar said in an email that was circulated campus-wide on Saturday.
‘Reports of hazing are approached swiftly and with great concern for the safety and well-being of our students.’
Neuhold-Ravikumar said that an investigation was initiated by the UCO Office of Student Conduct ‘promptly upon receiving notice.’
As of Tuesday, there was no criminal investigation into the matter.
A UCO spokesperson told DailyMail.com: ‘The investigation into individual actions in ongoing and those disciplinary actions, including potential suspensions from the university, have not yet been rendered.’
Those found responsible could be removed from the team altogether and possibly suspended by the university.
Investigators at the school in Edmond, Oklahoma (seen above) said that cheer team members were blindfolded, asked about their sexual preferences, plied with alcohol even though they are underage, and made to perform lap dances as part of a hazing ritual
Members of the cheer team who were not involved in the hazing will be subject to a ‘membership review process’ that will determine whether they will be permitted to try out for the squad next year, according to Neuhold-Ravikumar.
‘Training on hazing and bystander intervention practices will be required for the UCO cheer team and for the leadership of all student organizations,’ Neuhold-Ravikumar said.
None of the students have been permitted to discuss the allegations due to the ongoing investigation by administrators.
UCO President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar (above) circulated a campus-wide email on Saturday announcing that the cheer team was being shut down for the rest of the school year
After the team’s suspension was announced on Saturday, The Vista filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act seeking details of the alleged hazing.
A redacted report released by the UCO Office of Student Conduct lists several shocking acts that members of the cheer team were allegedly forced to perform.
Squad members were asked to answer questions of a sexual nature, grind against objects ‘in a sexual manner,’ twerk, endure screaming similar to what is heard in the military, drink ‘a mixture of things taken from the refrigerator,’ and drink alcohol even though they were under the legal drinking age.
In Oklahoma, anyone under the age of 21 is not allowed to possess or purchase alcohol, though it is legal to consume in a ‘private’ setting.
Members were also sprayed with an unidentified liquid.
UCO’s code of conduct prohibits students from engaging in any form of hazing.
‘Regardless of the incident location(s), any student(s) and/or student organization(s) found responsible for any form of hazing may be subject to immediate suspension and/or expulsion,’ according to the school’s hazing policy.
‘The expressed or implied consent of the victim shall not be considered as a defense.
‘Apathy and/or consent in the presence of hazing are not neutral acts; they shall be considered violations of this policy.’