Sexual assault charges lead to investigation of culture of Boston University hockey team

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February 23, 2012, 9:36 pm

(NECN: Eileen Curran, Boston) - The winds of change could be blowing at Boston University. The school is taking action after two BU hockey players, leading scorer Cory Trivino and junior Max Nicastro, were each charged with sexual assault, within months of each other. Both were kicked off the team by longtime coach Jack Parker.

“I think it’s a good investigation to get into,” said BU student Matt Wolfson.

“It’s good it’s not this elitist thing,” said BU freshman Lisa Albano.  “If it happens to a star athlete that it’s not brushed under table.”

BU President Robert Brown sent a letter to the faculty and students announcing a task force to look into the incidents and see if they reflect a systemic problem.

He wrote:
“The charges in these cases understandably lead to questions about whether the hockey team’s culture and climate have contributed in some way to the actions of the two individuals. The University must address these questions and, if deficiencies are identified, make appropriate and necessary changes.”

“It is very possible to change a culture, it’s possible to create a culture,” said Meghan Mahoney.

Mahoney is a consultant who has worked extensively with sports organizations on the issue of gender based violence. She’s also a hockey player who has been on male teams, as well as female team. Mahoney said in order to change a culture it has to start at the top with leaders setting expectations and an example for players.

“It doesn’t matter how elite a team is, how high profile the player is. If that level of expectation, if the coaches and team lead with their values you’re not going to experience these troubles because the players know what it means to be on this team.”
Not all BU students are buying into this.

“It’s been going on in college sports and professional sports as long as they’ve been doing it,” said BU sophomore Eric Brown.  “It’s an unwritten rule.”

But others aren’t ready to convict all hockey players on the actions of a few, including BU freshman Daniele Gargamelli.

“I don’t want to judge them all like that, I’d be careful, I still support the team,” she said.

The task force will be made up of university trustees, overseers, faculty and staff. They’ll start work in a few weeks. Their report is expected sometime this summer.

Tags: Boston University, task force, sexual assault, Eileen Curran, hockey team, Max Nicastro, jack parker, president robert brown, cory trivino, meghan mahoney
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