September 20, 2017
The following statement has been provided to media outlets upon request beginning Monday, September 18.
Wheaton College aspires to provide an educational environment that is not only free of hazing, but practices our values as a Christian community. As such, we are deeply troubled by the allegations brought by law enforcement against five members of our football team. When this incident was brought to our attention by other members of the football team and coaching staff in March 2016, the College took swift action to initiate a thorough investigation. Our internal investigation into the incident, and our engagement with an independent, third-party investigator retained by the College, resulted in a range of corrective actions. We are unable to share details on these disciplinary measures due to federal student privacy protections.
The College has fully cooperated with law enforcement in their investigation. To not impede the law enforcement investigation, the College was bound by confidentiality and unable to share more information until now.
The conduct we discovered as a result of our investigation into this incident was entirely unacceptable and inconsistent with the values we share as human beings and as members of an academic community that espouses to live according to our Community Covenant. We are profoundly saddened that any member of our community could be mistreated in any way. This incident has prompted our Board of Trustees to engage outside experts to lead a campus-wide review of the level of effectiveness of our anti-hazing policy and of the culture around how students treat one another in our campus communities, athletic teams, and organizations. Wheaton remains committed to providing Christ-centered development programs and training to all our students.
In 2014, we revised our anti-hazing policy and improved our training protocols to include a formal review of our anti-hazing policy with all student athletes every year, with required student signatures; we also require annual training for residence assistants who are responsible for residence hall activities. Despite these deeply troubling charges, we have experienced positive changes on campus, including rapid responses from campus leaders to reports of hazing or other inappropriate behavior and effective disciplinary review.