Columbia hockey club suspended over recruitment fliers

September 29, 2006

Columbia University has suspended its men’s ice hockey club because of recruiting fliers the team distributed earlier this month that included an off-color expression, students said Friday.

The club was informed earlier this week that it had been suspended until January 2007, team president Matthew Glynn said. The club was also put on probation for two years, he said.

Glynn confirmed that the team had distributed the fliers with the message: “Don’t be a pussy, play Columbia hockey.”

He said he and other team members would meet with athletic directors Monday and would not comment further ahead of the meeting. Glynn wouldn’t say if the suspension was specifically because of the content of the fliers.

A university spokesman, Robert Hornsby, declined to comment.

The student president of the university’s club sports governing board said the ice hockey club was disciplined because it did not seek approval for the fliers as required by university club sport rules.

“The team is not being punished for the content of the flier, it was for an obligation they did not fill,” Terence McAndrews said, referring further questions to the Columbia officials.

The suspension drew the criticism of an educational free speech advocacy group, which sent a letter earlier this week to University President Lee Bollinger.

“Such a punishment makes a mockery of Columbia’s commitment to free expression on campus,” wrote William Creeley, senior program officer for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The men’s ice hockey club is made up of graduate and undergraduate students, according to its Web site. It competes outside the university’s formal athletic team program in the Metropolitan Collegiate Hockey Conference, which includes clubs from Yale, Hofstra and other universities.

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Schools: Columbia University Cases: Columbia University: Hockey Club Punished for ‘Offensive’ Flyer