“When people are in groups,” explained Carol Miller, social psychology professor at the University of Vermont, “inhibitions might come off, in part because they’re in a group.” That group pressure, said Miller, causes people to stop paying attention to their own moral and behavioral standards — especially if there’s “a leader they trust.”
And who is a freshman hockey puck at UVM going to trust more than the senior team captain and the two assistant captains? But still, did they really have to hold someone else’s wee-wee?
Vermonters could surely handle elephant dung a lot better than New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani, but the thought of an “elephant walk” by the university’s elite Division I men’s ice hockey team? Say it ain’t so. Homo-Hockey-Eroticus is all the talk these dark days.
One can imagine pee-wee hockey players across Vermont asking their moms and dads if their dream of skating on Gutterson Field House ice one day, proudly wearing a UVM jersey, will require they march around holding the wee-wee of a teammate. And will Little Bo Peep of nursery-rhyme fame re-enter their lives when they hit college in- a way they can only pray can somehow be avoided?
The fallout from the UVM Hockey Puck Hazing Scandal exploded Friday like an atomic bomb. That’s the day former freshman goalie wannabe, Corey Latulippe of Williston, filed suit in federal court against the University of Vermont, its president, Judith Rarnaley, the hockey coach, Mike Gilligan, and the three captains, Kevin Karlander, Matt Sanders and Andreas Moborg.
Latulippe claims hazing by upperclassmen on the team violated his civil rights. He also claims “invasion of privacy,” “assault and battery” and “consumer fraud.”
And you now know all the juicy details — excuse me, allegations.
Wee-wees in beer glasses.
Shaved pubic hair.
Forced over-drinking and eating of fish pies which prompted vomiting.
And threats of mandatory coitus with a wooly four-legged creature. Ba-a-a-a-a-a-a! Bet you never realized there was more to ice hockey than shooting, checking and skating. Welcome to the side of the rink where men are men and sheep love them for it.
To think, just last Wednesday, Gov. Howard Brush Dean III brushed us off when we inquired of his view on the university’s Kafkaesque report on its investigation of hockey-puck hazing. The report — all three paragraphs — revealed nothing. No names. No description of the bad conduct. And not a word on the punishment. Not even the name of the investigator, which we now have learned from sources was Burlington attorney Tom McCormick, a guy with a real straight-arrow kind of reputation.
Ho-Ho, who often wears a UVM Hockey Cats jacket, blamed “the indignation of the press” for keeping this smelly, slimy story alive. He said he didn’t think UVM officials were “stupid enough” to cover up criminal activity. Yesterday, he publicly ate crow for that smart-aleck remark, “including the feathers,” in a live appearance on WKDR’s “The Mark Johnson Show.” This week, Dean calls it a “crisis,” and Attorney General Bill Sorrell has been called in to clean up the mess.
LaTulippe’s attorney, Mary Kehoe, of Saxer Anderson Wolinsky & Sunshine, told Seven Days that her client, “at some considerable self-risk,” notified UVM officials back in September of alleged hazing activity — activity specifically banned by the printed team guidelines distributed to players. “He put the university on notice of what was going on,” said Kehoe. “The university did exactly nothing.” Kehoe said firmly, “There’s absolutely not one exaggeration” in the 14-page complaint. Yes, folks, wee-wees and all.
In a messy jam, UVM has called upon the services of Vermont’s premier, legendary hired-gun attorney of the current era — Ritchie Berger, aka The Terminator, of Dinse Knapp & McAndrew.
Asked if the allegations in LaTulippe’s complaint hold water, Berger replied, “The vast majority of them and the most sensational of them are categorically false.” Berger, a former UVM frat boy (Sigma Alpha Epsilon, class of ‘78), noted, “Somebody trying to make money on a lawsuit can allege anything. It’s another matter proving it in a court of law.” If LaTulippe hadn’t been cut from the team, Berger argued, there wouldn’t be a lawsuit.
Kehoe declined to respond directly to The Terminator’s remarks, saying she will try the case in court and not in the papers. And Kehoe’s no slouch, either. A Chicago native and Dartmouth grad, she recently represented Ben Cohen in the Rainforest Crunch bankruptcy case. Mary’s also a marathon runner and mother of two. And, ironically, Marathon Mary’s mom is the dean of UVM’s College of Arts and Sciences — Joan Smith.
Small world, eh?
Well, our small world is about to get much bigger. The UVM Hockey Puck Hazing Scandal went national Monday in The New York Times and on CNN. Fasten your seatbelts as the “60 Minutes”/”Dateline NBC” crowd roll into the most livable town in the nation.
Supermarket Sweep —What a food fight! To listen to the public debate of the past month you’d a-thunk the city of Burlap was going to locate a nuclear power plant on South Winooski Avenue. Everybody’s gotten their licks in on Burlington’s supermarket sweepstakes. Everybody. Including those opponents hired by Shaw’s, the North American arm of J. Sainsbury, a British-owned conglomerate that posted a $570 million profit last year.
If you voted for Kurt Wright for mayor, eat a lot of steak, wanted Clinton impeached and castrated, and hate Act 60, losing The Great Burlington Food Fight of 1999 has to sting. It’s bad enough living with Progressives. But having to eat their food, too. That’s yucky.
But for Chrissakes, folks, the city council vote Monday night was 12-2 in favor of the co-op and against Shaw’s. That means the Progs, the Democrats and half the Republicans linked arms and did the right thing here. In the end, city councilors, including some who wouldn’t be caught dead in the current co-op, didn’t ignore the disinformation/misinformation campaign spun by mighty Shaw’s, its Long Island, New York, developer and Sam Osborne, their public relations consultant. The Shaw’s advertisement comparing their proposal to that of the Onion River Co-op, which ran in local papers, including this one, was a textbook example of mistruth in advertising.
Okay, now we have a decision and 12-2 is a frickin’ landslide! A brand-new, locally owned and operated grub store is finally coming to downtown. That’s actually very good news. Terrific news. It’s a big win for Mayor Peter Clavelle, Vermont’s downtown crusader. And don’t worry, Republican mayoral wannabe Matt Gardy will quickly move on to another issue that will elevate his exposure. He’ll survive. So, let’s hurry up and build the damn thing — I’m hungry.
Media Notes — The buzz in local media circles this week is that reporter Diane Derby, of the Rutland Herald/Times Argus, is about to become columnist Diane Derby, writing for the same outfit. Bravo! Derbs will be off the daily Statehouse grind. She’ll be the Yvonne Daley of the new millennium, covering statewide stories, too. Previously Diane worked for The Burlington Free Press and Vermont Times. For Christmas we’re sending Vermont’s Princess Di a jar of Grandpa Freyne’s BST-Free, Skunk-Tested, Skin-Thickening Ointment. The formula’s a family secret. Here at the ranch, we stock that stuff by the barrel. In fact, the swimming pool’s full of it.
If you’ve noticed you aren’t seeing as much of WCAX capital-beat reporter Tim Lewis lately, it’s because he’s on a “reverse sabbatical.” Tiny Tim’s splitting his duties between Vermont’s CBS affiliate and LSC-TV, the student-run station at Lyndon State College, where he’s the interim news director. Them kids sure can learn a whole lot from Professor Lewis. Tim returns to Ch. 3 fulltime after next semester.
From Russia With Dooley — The John Wayne of Chittenden County, Sheriff Kevin McLaughlin, just returned from two weeks in Asia — “my first trip anywhere,” he said. McLaughlin was traveling with His Royal Plumpness himself—Associate Justice John Dooley of the Vermont Supreme Court. The trip was sponsored by Karelian Rule of Law, a program that taps the best American legal minds to train the legal minds of the new, post-communist Russia in the fundamentals of law.
McLaughlin, for example, provided lessons in how he evicts tenants or seizes motor vehicles. Hey, somebody’s got to do it. As far as evictions go, said Chittenden County’s designated evictor, “there’s a lot more paperwork in Russia.” And would you believe, people don’t have titles to prove automobile ownership. “In Russia,” said McLaughlin, “they don’t have a Department of Motor Vehicles.”
Hmmm. That doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
Correction — In our Nov. 24 column about press coverage of the Indonesian military cadets attending Norwich University, we prematurely reported the demise of the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia.
An amendment cutting funding for the Pentagon’s charm school for thugs didn’t make it out of a House-Senate conference committee. The elimination of this training program for Latin America’s best and brightest death-squad commanders is one more issue on which Congressman Bernie Sanders and Sen. Jim Jeffords agree wholeheartedly.
According to Ol’ Bemardo’s press secretary, David Sirota, “Bernie is a co-sponsor of Rep. Moakley’s H.R. 732 which would permanently end funding for the School of the Americas. It currently has 153 co-sponsors.”
Jeezum Jim’s press secretary, Erik Smulson, told Seven Days, “Senator Jeffords is the only Republican co-sponsor of a bill introduced by Senator Durbin to close the School of the Americas. Unfortunately, the bill hasn’t really moved, and the School of the Americas continues to receive funding through the Department of Defense budget.”
Fr. Roy Bourgeois, the Maryknoll priest who has bravely led opposition to the “school,” was a recent visitor to the Green Mountains. The Louisiana native and Vietnam vet served as a missionary in Latin America and witnessed the effectiveness of the school’s graduates.
Lt. Roy Bourgeois was a gung-ho Navy lieutenant in 1966-67. He commanded a gunboat on the Mekong River, an assignment a lot like being a target in a shooting gallery. The cold face of war changed Roy forever. And it was the faces of the Vietnamese kids that changed him most. Those faces burned into his heart like hot steel. On his own time, Lt. Bourgeois started an orphanage for children made parentless by America’s right-thinking war machine. He raised the money from family and friends back in his parish on the Louisiana bayou.
When his Vietnam tour was over, Bourgeois left the Navy and entered the seminary, which is where we crossed paths in 1968. Hot times, indeed. To describe Roy as one-of-a-kind is an understatement. We think he should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. But the Nobel would be meaningless to Roy without the real prize of turning out the lights once and for all on the School of the Assassins.
Now We’re Smoking — Modern times, indeed. Inside Track is now available on-line at www.sevendaysvt.com. Tell your friends. Tell your enemies, too. A worldwide audience. Cool.