Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 3, 2013

Norfolk St. investigates cheerleader hazing claims

Associated Press

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Norfolk State University has halted the activities of its cheerleading team while it investigates allegations of hazing, a school administrator said.

“We certainly take these allegations seriously, it’s a serious matter,” Ed Willis, vice president of student affairs, told WAVY-TV.

Alexander Nicholson said that his daughter and other new members of the cheerleading team were put in a dark room and told not to leave while the campus celebrated homecoming week with a bonfire. They also were forced to hold weights.

“They had to hold five-pound weights for maybe 30 or 40 minutes and then my daughter, she had to hold a weight of seven pounds,” Nicholson told WAVY.

Willis said that any disciplinary action would depend on the situation.

“If it is found that some activity that took place is criminal in nature, potentially, we’ll turn that over to the authorities,” Willis said.

WAVY reported that the university’s alumni squad performed instead of the undergraduate team during Saturday’s homecoming football game.

“It’s mental abuse. The suicide rate is high now for people committing suicide for the way they are treated mentally, and the harassment they are receiving from their peers,” Nicholson said.