SGA de-charters the Wombats: Ultimate Frisbee team breaks Skidmore Honor Code resulting in one-year hiatus

Posted by Jean-Ann Kubler

On Dec. 7, 2010 the Executive Board of the SGA officially de-charted the Skidmore Wombats.

The Wombats, the college's Ultimate Frisbee team, would have celebrated their 20-year anniversary this year.

The Executive Board is comprised of SGA President Alex Stark ‘11, the SGA Executive Committee, Honor Code Commissioner Aaron Shifreen ‘13, class presidents and two senators.

During the fall semester, the SGA Executive Committee received information regarding alleged misconduct by the Wombats.

In November, college administrators met with members of the team and warned them that they were under investigation.

The Executive Board held a private meeting on Dec. 5, 2010. The captains were encouraged to speak on behalf of the Wombats and the allegations made against the team. ?

The five Wombat captains attended the Dec. 5 meeting. ?Following the meeting, the Executive Board deliberated and decided to disband the team.

According to the official statement from the SGA, "The Board deliberated and found that the club violated the Skidmore Honor Code on multiple counts — an agreement they were bound to uphold by signing the standard club renewal form. The sanction assigned for this violation was the de-chartering of the Skidmore Wombats."

Due to the confidentiality of Executive Board deliberations, it is unknown what sections of the honor code the Wombats violated.

Rumors regarding the disbandment have been focused on allegations of first-year hazing, the presence of beer kegs at Friday practices and misbehavior during a Frisbee tournament at Hampshire College.

In early November, the captains of the Hampshire Frisbee team, the Red Scare, wrote a letter to Skidmore Dean of Student Affairs Rochelle Calhoun regarding the alleged incident.

The letter, which Calhoun forwarded to the SGA Executive Committee, claimed that the presence of the Wombats on Hampshire's campus had resulted in multiple complaints from students, faculty and campus safety.

"We thought it necessary to bring to your attention the behavior of some of the Skidmore Frisbee team members while on our campus this past weekend, November 5th and 6th, in order to make you aware of how your institution is being represented," the Red Scare captains said in the letter.

The Red Scare's letter described alleged incidences of members of the Wombats unlocking bicycles and taking them for joy rides, trying to break into the Hampshire swimming pool and urinating in public.

However, the incident that the Hampshire team found most troubling, according to the letter, was the disturbance several members of the Wombats caused in the Hampshire residences.

The members of the Wombats were apparently invited to stay in an on-campus apartment, but were found in residences they were specifically told not to enter.

"Several male [Wombats] were heard in the early morning attempting to open the doors to the rooms of female residents while muttering phrases that were construed to be sexual in nature (‘There is no way I'm not going to get laid tonight' is what one of the female residents heard as someone tried to open her locked door)," the Red Scare captains said.

A report filed by a Hampshire Campus Safety officer claims that four Skidmore students, three males and one female, were found in a residence that they were not allowed to be in.

The report says the names of the four students were determined when officers asked for identification.

The students' names are listed in the report. All students listed are members of the class of 2013.

Two male Skidmore students were purportedly found in an all-female residence and were asked to leave by a female Hampshire student.

Another female student filed a report with Hampshire Campus Safety claiming that upon entering her room she found two Wombats — one male and one female.

"She further stated that it appeared that they had been sleeping in her roommate's bed ‘because the bed was unmade,'" according to the report.

The letter from the Red Scare captains also included allegations of Wombat team members having sex in the stairwell of a Hampshire apartment complex.

"In addition, they were told not to go through [a door between apartments] when they first arrived at the apartment [they were staying in]. Once inside the adjacent apartment, the students once again began checking for open doors and, upon finding some, entered the bedroom and had sex in their beds," the Red Scare captains said.

It is unclear whether the events described by the captains of the Red Scare are the same as the events in the Hampshire Campus Safety report.

The letter also describes an incident at a Frisbee tournament in Georgia last spring during which the Wombats allegedly started a prank war with the Red Scare that escalated to lit fireworks being thrown at members of the Hampshire team.

Additionally, the Red Scare claims the Wombats threw the team's furniture into a pool and broke into the house Hampshire students rented.

The Womabts allegedly vandalized and stole their property.

The former Wombat captains, commented jointly on the allegations of misconduct at Hampshire College and the disbanding of the team.

"A misunderstanding during a tournament at Hampshire College led to allegations against the Skidmore Wombats. Although we felt we behaved appropriately on their campus, the actions of some individuals were misconstrued as inappropriate when they were in fact accidental," the captains said.

The captains said the de-chartering saddened the entire Wombat community.

"We feel it is a disservice to the Skidmore community to deny an outlet for the Ultimate Frisbee sport and to deny this loving community to its current and future members."

In response to the disbanding, the Wombats attempted to appeal the decision.

"The team appealed the Board's decision to a Senate Ad-Hoc Investigation Review Committee. The Review Committee found no adequate grounds for appeal and voted to uphold the Executive Board's decision," according to the SGA statement.

An Ultimate Frisbee team cannot reapply to charter a club for one year, according to SGA policy.

Though their appeal was unsuccessful, several members of the former Wombats have continued to practice.

"Though we are no longer acknowledged by the college as a club, the Wombat family lives on through the memories and friendships it has forged and its dedication to the ideals of Ultimate Frisbee," the captain's statement concluded.

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