Four confirmed cases of hazing at The Citadel lead to suspensions

Four confirmed cases of hazing at The Citadel lead to suspensions

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Four confirmed cases of hazing at The Citadel led to suspensions and some cadets kicked out of school, officials announced on Wednesday.

A total of seven cadets quit before their cases were heard.

At a press conference on Monday, school officials made it clear that any form abuse won't be accepted on campus.

"We're not going to tolerate it, we're not going to put up with it," said Capt. Geno Paluso, The Citadel's commandant of cadets.

This after the school announced 83 cadets have been accused of abuse over the last six months. Paluso said the allegations came out after officials told any freshmen who had information to come forward.

"I told them they had until noon the next day to report any infractions that had happened to them first semester or continuing to happen by noon the next day and that's how we came up with the 85 allegations," Paluso said.

Paluso says no one was injured in the four hazing incidents.

"I will tell you it fell up at the higher end of the spectrum, but of those four we're not talking about hands on abuse," Paluso said.

Paluso says the investigation also landed 39 other cadets in hot water for what he called lesser infractions. Those cadets will face some restrictions and loss of privileges.

Twenty eight other cases are still under investigation. Paluso believes some cadets may still be afraid to speak up.

"Am I naive enough to think that some people didn't come forward? No," Paluso said.

Paluso doesn't consider the number of hazing cases excessive, but he would like the number to be zero.

"One is bad enough in my eyes," Paluso said."In my experience in the military, one is bad but, I think we have a pretty good handle on it."

Paluso says he anticipates even more cadets will leave school when the investigation is finished. Paluso called hazing a "nationwide issue." 

The allegations came to light following a February 8 meeting between freshman cadets and Paluso during which the cadets were told it was their duty to report instances of hazing. 

The reported allegations range from minor infractions to more serious allegations, and not all were allegations of hazing, said Col. Brett Ashworth, Vice President of The Citadel Office for Communications and Marketing. 

According to a statement released by The Citadel on February 20, 24 of the 85 cases had been adjudicated, with the remaining allegations being investigated by the commandant's office. 

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