NORTHFIELD, Vt. (WFFF/NEXSTAR) — Police in Vermont are investigating hazing allegations involving a member of the women’s rugby team at a Norwich University, a historic military college.
Last month, the Northfield Police Department obtained warrants to search dorm rooms and electronic communications from students in connection with the allegations, which involve “branding and waterboarding of and by NU students,” Chief John Helfant said in a email shared with Nexstar.
The probe began on March 20, following a report of someone being held at knifepoint inside one of the dorm rooms, according to a police affidavit obtained by The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. The alleged victim was said to be a player on the women’s rugby team.
The officer who provided the affidavit said the victim claimed she was “branded” by other members of the team. The victim’s phone also contained video of another woman in a chair with a cloth held over her face, with liquid being poured on the cloth, the Times Argus reported.
Dr. Mark Anarumo, the president of Norwich University, has said the school is cooperating with the investigation.
Anarumo added that “it would be inappropriate to discuss the specifics of the event.”
“At the conclusion of the investigation, Norwich University will take appropriate legal action and disciplinary measures to preserve the safety of our community and perpetuate a positive culture across our campus and with our community partners,” Anarumo wrote in an letter provided to the surrounding community.
“We will all play our part in encouraging an atmosphere of learning, social responsibility, and respect for human dignity, and will tirelessly address any behavior that is incongruous with this responsibility,” he said.
Founded in 1819, Norwich University is the oldest private military college in the United States. The university is also regarded as “birthplace of the ROTC.”