Virginia college's rugby team suspended over derogatory chant

RICHMOND, Va. (Reuters) - The men’s rugby club at a Virginia state university has been suspended indefinitely because of what the college president described as a chant by several members with “sexually explicit, derogatory and violent language.” "No student on our campus should feel unsafe, ostracized or threatened,” Rick Hurley, president of the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, said in a March 19 email to the university community, which was made available on Monday. The suspension of rugby club activities came last week, after an appeals process had concluded, according to local media. In his email, Hurley said students at the college had been exposed to what he described as the “offensive and lurid lyrics” through postings on social media. An audio recording of the chant was made at an off-campus party last fall. Hurley said all members of the rugby club would be required to participate in sensitivity training. In December, Mary Washington put on hold a proposal to launch fraternities and sororities at the 4,000-student college. It cited the uproar at the University of Virginia over a now-discredited report by Rolling Stone magazine about an alleged gang rape at a fraternity house. Mary Washington is among a number of U.S. colleges that have come under scrutiny recently because of questionable behavior by students. Last week, North Carolina State University disbanded a fraternity after the discovery of a notebook filled with sexist and racially offensive comments. A fraternity at the University of Oklahoma also was disbanded when a video caught fraternity members singing a racist chant. A fraternity at Pennsylvania State University is being investigated because of nude or seminude pictures of women posted on the fraternity’s Facebook page. (Reporting by Gary Robertson; Editing by Ian Simpson and Eric Beech)