Squads placed on year-long probation

The Baker University Cheer and Dance squads were placed on a year of probation after several members of the cheer squad were discovered to have taken part in illegal activities while at national competition in Daytona Beach, Fla.

"We got put on probation because some of the girls didn't represent Baker in the way they should have," freshman cheerleader Darcy Nance said.

Nance said the squad was put on probation as a result of three underage women drinking alcohol during the week of April 5 when the team was performing in Daytona Beach, Fla.

"I think we're a squad, so what three girls do reflects our entire squad," Nance said. "We all have to suffer the consequences -- we are a squad, not like 20 individuals."

Nance said the team will be on probation for one year and the program will be reassessed then.

"Any competition we want to go to, we have to get special permission for one year until next June," Nance said. "They will then review it, and they will decide if we get to have a cheerleading program."

Spirit Squad Coordinator Cathy Ritter said she is disappointed with her squad after the incident.

"I feel sad and a little embarrassed," Ritter said. "It was really something that could have been avoided if more common sense had been used."

Ritter said although the squad is on probation, the group's morale is still somewhat high.

"Several of them are graduating. Some aren't coming back. Some are going to different schools or didn't try out again," Ritter said. "This is something that they know we can move on. Come next year, that may be a different thing, but right now, our morale isn't down low."

Dean of Student Development John Frazier said the probation was decided upon after a judicial process.

"Probation is a judicial sanction," Frazier said. "That allows us to put a contingency on a student or organization if they fall short of meeting school and community standards."

Frazier said the team was put on probation because the event was a school-sponsored trip.

"They were wearing the Baker outfits," Frazier said. "Whatever they would take part in, it clearly is a representation of the institution."

Frazier also said that although the cheer and dance squad's trip was school-sanctioned, any student who is not representing Baker properly as outlined by the student handbook can also suffer some consequences if the student life staff finds out about it. Frazier said this is possible since Baker is a private school, and students accept that before they come to Baker.

Nance said the she is dismayed that Ritter has to deal with this situation.

"Our coach is very upset and disappointed in us," Nance said. "She felt like someone should have gone to her first instead of the dean - she was just unhappy about the whole situation."

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