In the wake of the second allegation of sexual assault by a BU hockey player this season, Boston University President Robert A. Brown will convene a task force to examine the culture of men’s hockey. The task force, says Brown, will make recommendations to ensure that the conduct of the team conforms to the “very high standards to which we hold all our students, especially those who represent the University in a prominent way.” Brown announced his decision to create the task force today in a letter sent to the Boston University community.
“We will ask the task force to look at our program with fresh, impartial eyes,” Brown says, “to determine whether the culture of hockey at BU meets the high standards of our academic community. If it does not, if the task force finds a culture where players are privileged or entitled or held to lesser standards, it will recommend changes to the way we think about and manage our hockey program.”
Brown says his mandate should not be mistaken for a judgment about what did or did not happen in the two cases of alleged assault. “Any determination about what transpired,” says Brown, “will be made by the judicial system. Rather, the convening of the task force reflects a judgment that when two similar incidents occur within a season, it is incumbent on us to look closely to learn if there are broader systemic issues that need to be addressed.”
The president praises head hockey coach Jack Parker’s leadership in calling for a full and transparent examination of the culture of hockey on campus. He shares the sentiment Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97) expressed to the Boston Globe earlier this week: “I hope it’s a horrible coincidence. I don’t want this to be the culture of our team, and if it is, we’ll change it.”
“I believe Coach Parker got it exactly right,” Brown says.
The task force membership, which will include representatives from the faculty, staff, and University trustees and overseers, will be determined over the next several weeks, as will the specifics of its charge. Brown says the task force would be asked to submit its report to him by early summer so that implementation of recommendations could proceed in the fall.
“Having an excellent hockey program is a Boston University tradition,” says Brown, “but so, too, is demanding excellence from the young men who play the game. BU has done both successfully in the past. With the help of the task force and the broader campus community, we’ll do so in the future, too.”