Rugby appeals verdict

Najee Walker, Reporter

SUNY Buffalo State’s United Student Government’s Judical Council held an appeal with the men’s and women’s rugby club on Thursday, March 19. The appeal comes after a previous sentence was given to the club, when USG recieved evidence of the club engaging in heavy drinking and offensive language. The sentence given was 25 hours of community service per member of the club as well as a 10 percent budget cut. However, the rugby club did not find this sentence fair.

The president of the women’s rugby club, Nicole Montanino, Vice President Mary Sica, and President of the men’s rugby club, August Edwards were defending their organization. Ashleigh-Ann Sutherland, president of USG and Diaisha Richards, USG Treasurer, were also present.

Instead of 25 hours per member of the club, the men’s and women’s rugby club instead asked that the ruling be changed to 20 hours of community service for every executive board member.

The idea for this new sentence comes from a similar case from 2008, where Adelante Estudiantes Latinos (AEL) was penalized for drinking at the Whispering Pines Camp. According to this case, the e-board members of the club were given the punishment, instead of the entire club who were all present at the time. Which is apparently different than the men’s and women’s rugby club case, where not all members were present. In addition to the 2008 case, however, the club was unrecognized and disbanded, as well.

“Although after they had presented this testimony it was brought to their attention that although community service was not given to the entire group, an alcohol EDU class was not given and a smaller budget cut suggested, what the Appellants were made aware of however was that the group in question was indeed unreconized and the verdict they had mentioned was a secondary verdict in the event that the Senate not vote 2/3 majortiy and unreconized AEL,” stated in the final document of the court case.

The evidence in question was a video, brought to USG’s attention. According to the team, the evidence was “doctored and fake,” and was made to make the rugby club look bad.

The video shows many people in a backyard, drinking and chanting.

Edwards, who said he was not present at the party or in the video, said that the party was not necessarily a “rugby party”. Rather, while it was a party where rugby players were present, only a few players from both teams are seen in the video. While the video played, Justice Ramos asked the team exactly how many members of the team they saw in the video. According to the club, only four members were present.

The team insisted that, not only was the party displayed in the video, not the fault of the entire team, but also that the person who provided the video was trespassing on private property to obtain evidence against the team. The council was not moved.

To add to their punishment, the rugby club had their budget frozen. According to Sica, this was not part of the original ruling.

Cheif Justice Wloch told the rugby club that the decision to freeze part of their budget comes from their alleged actions in the video, and that he didn’t want that same behavoir displayed while they traveled to other schools. Since the team travels to other cities to play in matches, USG felt that they needed to send a message to the team, and that the behavior they saw in the video would not be tolerated within the Buffalo State community or any other community.

“If we don’t condone it [the behavior] here,” Wloch said, “why would we want it to be condoned anywhere else?”

The Judicial Council reached a final verdict in the USG v. Men and Women’s Rugby (Appeal) and the executive board for both men and women’s rugby is required to complete 12 hours of community service at the discretion of the USG Executive Board. All members of men and women’s rugby are required to attend an Alcohol and Drug EDU class, and a five percent budget cut will be issued until the end of the Spring 2015 semester.

There were reports of people slandering USG and the Judiciary Council on popular social media app, “Yik Yak,” following the first ruling. Montanino said that had “nothing to do with us.”

Twitter: @NajeeW93

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