Sports

Bombshell Hazing Lawsuit Hits Clemson Women’s Soccer Program

FRESHMAN PLAYER ALLEGEDLY SUFFERED PERMANENT BRAIN DAMAGE DURING ABDUCTION BY TEAMMATES A lawsuit filed in Pickens County, S.C. alleges that hazing rituals performed by the Clemson University women’s soccer team caused “severe and permanent personal injuries including a traumatic brain injury” to a former player. Haley Ellen Hunt, of Aiken,…

FRESHMAN PLAYER ALLEGEDLY SUFFERED PERMANENT BRAIN DAMAGE DURING ABDUCTION BY TEAMMATES

A lawsuit filed in Pickens County, S.C. alleges that hazing rituals performed by the Clemson University women’s soccer team caused “severe and permanent personal injuries including a traumatic brain injury” to a former player.

Haley Ellen Hunt, of Aiken, S.C., is suing her former coach – Eddie Radwanski – and several other Clemson coaches, former teammates and school administrators (including former Tigers’ athletics director Terry Don Phillips) as a result of injuries she suffered during an alleged hazing incident.

All the defendants are sued individually and in their capacity as employees of the school.

According to Hunt’s lawsuit – filed by attorney Robert E. Sumner of the Charlotte, N.C.-based Moore VanAllen firm – Coach Radwanski took over the Clemson program in 2011 and attempted to convince Hunt not to attend the school.

Undeterred, Hunt enrolled at Clemson anyway – at which point Radwanski is accused of helping orchestrate a hazing incident that led to her injury.

According to the lawsuit, on the evening of August 18, 2011 Hunt was abducted from her dorm room with two other freshmen soccer players and “forced into and held captive in the rear compartment of an automobile.”  For the next half hour, the players were allegedly driven around Pickens County – and occasionally forced to exit the vehicle and “perform humiliating and demeaning acts.”

Eventually they wound up at Riggs Field, the school’s soccer facility.  There, the players were spun around and disoriented – and then forced to run at full speed.

That’s when, according to the suit, Hunt “took off in a dead sprint running parallel to the field, but no one stopped her.”

Instead her teammates allegedly shouted at her, “commanding that she run faster.”

Hunt did run faster – right into a brick wall near the field.

“The momentum of Ms. Hunt’s collision with the brick wall threw her body backward, causing her to smash into a nearby table and fall to the ground,” the lawsuit states.  “The players heard Ms. Hunt scream and observed her clench her bloody face.  One player described the sound of Ms. Hunt hitting the brick wall as ‘metal hitting metal.’  The impact with the brick wall caused Ms. Hunt to sustain serious injuries to her brain, head, face and hands.  Ms. Hunt was knocked unconscious and had to be physically assisted by other players.”

Hunt was never taken to the hospital.  Campus police were never called.  According to the suit, a Clemson assistant coach – Siri Mullinix – arrived at Riggs Field shortly after the incident occurred and told the players not to tell anyone what happened.

These instructions were allegedly repeated by Coach Radwanski, who held a meeting shortly after the incident took place to inform the players that they were not to discuss what happened with anyone.

According to the lawsuit, Radwanski told the team “we cannot have anybody finding out about this.”

Not only that, when it became clear how serious Hunt’s injuries really were – the coaches are accused of stepping up their hazing of Hunt and telling her “to stop complaining.”

In other words she never received the treatment she should have gotten in the aftermath of such a serious injury.

While no disciplinary action was taken by the school’s athletics department, Clemson’s Office of Community and Ethical Standards (OCES) eventually undertook its own probe of the incident – which resulted in the team being placed on disciplinary probation through December 2012.  Team members were also required to attend a workshop on hazing.

What happened to Hunt?

According to her attorneys, her symptoms worsened last November and she was forced to give up soccer.  Additionally medical tests performed by a neurologist – David R. Wiercisiewski – revealed “substantial decreased cognitive function.”  Hunt’s vision was also permanently damaged as a result of the incident.

FITS has provided Clemson with a copy of the lawsuit.  We did not immediately receive a response, but we’ll let you know as soon as we hear something.

Obviously there are multiple sides to every story, but the narrative told by Hunt’s lawyers certainly strikes us as pretty damning if true …

CLEMSON SOCCER LAWSUIT (.pdf)

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59 comments

E Norma Scok September 8, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Hmmm..If Clemson is being sued, wouldn’t they have a copy of the lawsuit? Why would they need “FITS has provided Clemson with a copy of the lawsuit.”

And it took 3 years and a lawyer from out of state to file the lawsuit?

That seems long enough for most everyone to graduate and leave to me.

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E Norma Scok September 8, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Fits..did you actually read the complaint? You said “filed by attorney Robert E. Sumner of the Charlotte, N.C.-based Moore VanAllen firm”

The complaint says The lawyer and law firm are on 78 Wentworth, Charleston SC.

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Legal Eagle September 8, 2014 at 5:50 pm

You realize that prominent law firm Moore Van Allen is based in Charlotte with lawyers in multiple offices correct? So FITS was correct in his writing. Also, many times in a TBI case symptoms develop over time and then their always a hesitation to pursue litigation unless necessary, which based on this complaint seems certainly warranted

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Will Folks aka Sic September 8, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Moore VanAllen is based in Charlotte but has offices all over the place.

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Inquiring Mind Wants to Know September 8, 2014 at 9:42 pm

You didn’t address the question of the copy of the lawsuit.

Did you accept service on behalf of Clemson?

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a face in the crowd September 8, 2014 at 10:07 pm

He may have sent a copy to the spokesperson, seeking comment. Try not to be a typical knee-jerk Clemsonite and bring up red herrings. It really gets old.

Inquiring Mind Wants to Know September 8, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Your shtick is what’s old. You must be a Davidson grad. They all have their heads up their ass’.

a face in the crowd September 8, 2014 at 10:15 pm

We’ll just have to see how it plays out in court. Hopefully, the FFRF is right behind these guys, running the Bible thumpers back into the hills.

Plumbline September 8, 2014 at 10:51 pm

“Clemson University” is not named as a defendant; therefore, Clemson can claim that they have not seen the complaint. Despite such a claim being totally unbelievable to anyone with any sense, Clemson would not let common sense get in the way of their invoking the Sergent Klink defense of ” I know nothing, I know nothing!” That is why FITS would send Clemson a copy; i.e., FITS is smarter than you.

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guest September 9, 2014 at 12:32 am

Sergeant Schultz. Klink was the Colonel who used to say: “Hogannn!”

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Squishy123 September 8, 2014 at 5:40 pm

But what we apparently want to know around here lately is, will the players be wearing spikes that match their tops or their shorts this season.

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Squishysmomma September 8, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Oh squishy we know you are wearing your mothers g sting while in her basement jerking that twig picturing Clemson girls in soccer shorts

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CNSYD September 8, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Has there ever been a lawsuit filed by a plaintiff’s attorney in which the “narrative” was not “pretty damning”?

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a face in the crowd September 9, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Props out to Fits for covering the story. The Greenville News now has an article about the lawsuit and its allegations, and hopefully the AP will pick up on that report.

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Notcher September 10, 2014 at 10:14 am

Just every frivolous lawsuit in history.

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Thomas September 8, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Since Clemson is a state public college, the tax payers through the General Fund raised from sales tax revenue and personal income taxes will have to pay out any damages.

This author has TWC standard cable w/o the box. You can watch live TV on the web by logging in your TWC account…and watch SEC Network Channel online. Yes!

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legal eagle September 9, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Fools sometimes believe that. Clemson gets about 10% of their budget from the state, the rest is via tuition, fees, grants, endowments etc. They, like all other state agencies and colleges may buy insurance from the Insurance Reserve Fund for a premium, just like auto insurance, homeowners etc. They also are capped under the government immunity for the maximum they would ever have to pay to any one event.

I reminds me (the state immunity)of the train accident several years ago in Spartanburg..25+ injuries, 1 death, and maximum of $600k to divide up. Medicals alone were 3 million plus. Many good folks went into bankruptcy, and became dependent upon government assistance to make ends meet, all because of the “per occurence statute”

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SC Political Digest September 8, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Liberal-Tarians showing us AGAIN, how Big Brother will litigate every aspect of your life. Nice job FITS of revealing who you, and Obama, are.

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B.Obama September 8, 2014 at 8:35 pm

You caught me.

I PERSONALLY ordered this lawsuit to be filed!

Damn you have great sources.I will have to watch myself in the future

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SC Political Digest September 9, 2014 at 6:33 am

Yeah: politics, politicians-in-power, trial lawyers and actions by special interests have no connection do they?

Totally oblivious Dumb@$$#$ – like you – That’s why this country is in a mess.

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euwe max September 8, 2014 at 7:59 pm

I volunteer to help with future humiliating acts.

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Falsely imprison that tiger September 8, 2014 at 8:43 pm

So MVA not planning any Clemson work any time soon? Most of the rest are probably judgment proof.

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E Norma Scok September 8, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Completely different, but similar..No “breaking story” On Harold Green getting charged for assault and battery on 5 students? I guess that will be in 3 or 4 days.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2014/09/08/south-carolina-gamecock-nfl-pro-bowler-harold-green-arrested-assault/15304889/

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E Norma Scok September 9, 2014 at 10:21 am

Why did you point to story about ID theft at Dorn VA?

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Slap Me September 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm

No breaking news on the Rice story either.

Oh well, just another day in the life of a CDV plea.

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carls jr September 9, 2014 at 12:16 am

Wrong again, dumbass.

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E Norma Scok September 9, 2014 at 10:21 am

I wasn’t wrong when I wrote that, dumbass.

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Call em like I see em September 9, 2014 at 8:32 am

I’d call BS on this if she weren’t being represented by Moore & Van Allen. They wouldn’t waste time with her if they didn’t think her case had serious merit.

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Soccertaxi September 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Did you read the pdf of the lawsuit? There is nothing in there that sounds like BS. It’s disturbing at the very least.

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CNSYD September 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Its par for the course in the lawsuit “game”. The world is going to end, until the money gets “right” and then everything is just fine.

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Soccertaxi September 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Right, and as the poster of the photo below, I don’t put a lot of stock in your comment…

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CNSYD September 9, 2014 at 8:35 am

More details on this lawsuit are unfolding. Apparently the hazing to which the plaintiff was subjected was the dreaded “camel toe” walk of humiliation previously employed by the Clemson womens’ rowing team: http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–vBqqqElC–/18j5hhwb4rxeyjpg.jpg

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CNSYD September 9, 2014 at 11:59 am

another Sic Willie disciple highjacking my name. typical sophomoric behavior.

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CharlotteRooster September 9, 2014 at 9:28 am

This article fails for referring to the plaintiff as a “Bombshell,” but not including a picture

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Soccertaxi September 9, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Read the actual pdf of the lawsuit, linked above. Both coaches should be fired at minimum. I hope they both get prison time if this is all true, and it’s sounds like it is.

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Soccermeg September 9, 2014 at 5:12 pm

I can tell you hands down these are false accusations and that this never happened. I know both coaches very well one of which was an Olympic player. I was an athlete for both of them and neither would tolerate anything like this.

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a face in the crowd September 9, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Whew. Thanks for clearing that up. For a minute there, I thought a major law firm and a neurologist might not want to damage their reputations in a frivolous lawsuit.

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puuhlease September 9, 2014 at 3:06 pm

two things strike me as odd right out of the gates…..

1) So the new coach SUPPOSEDLY tells you that “you are not any good at soccer”, “you will never play for him”, AND “he is going to make your life miserable if you come”…..BUT you still go there anyway???????????? Not only do you still go to play for him, you don’t say anything to admin at the time about this “verbal abuse/hazing”????? Riiiiggghhttttt……

2) What type of parent would let their daughter play for a coach that said these things to her???? Answer = NONE. Therefore, they must be stretching the truth about any conversations they had with the new coach prior to her attending Clemson.

For me, the answer is pretty simple….these things WERE NOT SAID the way the defendant claims they were. If anything was said, it was probably more along the lines of, “Hey, I’m the new coach. We are trying to take this program in a new direction and I just don’t see you earning playing time in the future. If playing is important to you, you may seriously want to look elsewhere.”

As far as the actual hazing event, I have no comment or opinion on it because the validity of anything coming out of the defendant’s party after the above was stated, early in the official document I might add, has to be questioned seriously. They lose serious credibility right out of the gates with stuff that is obviously not completely true.

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BlahBlah September 29, 2014 at 5:33 pm

My daughter too was among the 2011 recruits and I can tell you straight up that that coach tried as hard as he could to get her NOT come by basically saying the same things this girl is saying the coach told her … Let me tell you, this was a horrible time! The fact you say, “What type of parent would let their daughter play for a coach that said these things to her???? Answer = NONE” Well, I can tell you what you aren’t realizing is that this was happening in the second semester of their senior year in high school … way past the deadline for college applications and anyone parent who has a student athlete playing in a D1 University would know that most commit sometime within their junior year, so scrambling to find another school is out of the question for some! Clemson University did say they would honor the scholarship offered to girls from the previous coach who originally recruited them… However, the new coach just wanted to bring in his own players and tried everything get the girls NOT to come…So before you ramble on and on I can tell you that this did happen … Thank God my daughter believed in herself and was an outstanding student and an outstanding soccer player and found a great school in a short time … I believe in Karma and this coach is getting his. The end.

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puuhlease September 29, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Sooooo let me get this straight….this coach also told YOUR daughter, “you are not any good at soccer”, “you will never play for us”, AND “he is going to make her life miserable if she chooses to attend and play soccer for him”? And you still let her attend and play soccer for him because it was “way past the deadline for college applications and anyone parent who has a student athlete playing in a D1 University would know that most commit sometime within their junior year, so scrambling to find another school is out of the question for some!”?

He was hired in mid-December of 2010, so is it fair to assume he had these horrible conversations with your daughter, sometime let’s say oh in January, well before the first week of February which coincides with the National Signing date? Correct or incorrect? So, rather than simply try to look/apply elsewhere and hit the transfer/de-commit market with other programs, you allowed your 18 year old daughter to still go play for this man? If she was THAT good, one would assume she was recruited by a plethora of other top level schools. Did you contact any of them to see if they were still interested? That is still plenty of time to find another school and program. At worst, your daughter could have chosen to sit out a semester, without losing eligibility, rather than play for this “horrible” man.

I agree with you in that it may not have been enough time for you to find a similar caliber ACC program for the same amount of scholarship that your daughter may have been offered by the previous coach. Which brings me to my next question. Was your choice to still send your daughter to Clemson to play for this “horrible” coach about scholarship money and cost? Was it because it was the cheapest perceived high level D1 option left for you? If so, you are far worse of a parent than I ever anticipated. That is the equivalent of sending your child to the worst daycare center in town, even though you don’t feel great about it, because it is a few bucks cheaper!!????

Stop stretching the truth my man. Did this coach try to talk your daughter out of coming to Clemson? ABSOLUTELY. Do you know why? It is because he was trying to do her a HUGE FAVOR. She was not the caliber of player that was going to help his team win in the ACC. She was the caliber of player that the previous coach had recruited consistently to earn a whopping 1-28-1 record in the ACC over his last 3 seasons. No offense meant to anyone but that is simply stating the facts. I am happy your daughter believed in herself too. I’m sure she is doing well at whatever mid-major school she landed at. Ironically, I believe in Karma too and stretching the truth is not good Karma. The end.

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Mike Britt September 9, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Why are you people acting so surprised to hear this. Remember datboy’s declaration that he shall “Control the message” coming out of Tatertown? They cover up everything in that little hole in the wall and on the occasion that someone DOES speak up, they immediately find a way to lose their job.

You can bet your life that this probably happened exactly like it was described in the law suit and there will be a quick and “Sealed” judgment out of court.

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VoiceofReason September 9, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Idiot. Let the courts play this out.

By the way that hole in the wall you call Tatertown is ranked so much higher than uSC it’s not even funny. CU is getting better everyday while uSC touts itself as the flagship school. Flagship in name only.

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VoiceofTruth September 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm

You are the idiot. Are you still trying to talk about the integrity of ACC schools? You know the ones that have no show class for athletes, pay for play scandals, etc? Your newest members are having current problems now too. Norte Dame and Louisville. Wasn’t Miami just on life support from the NCAA about 2 years ago because of scandals? And they were actually talking about the “death penalty” for them . Yeah, they just beam with integrity. You promise all the time you will never again grace us with your comments because you are too good for us, yet you keep coming back. Like I said, you are the idiot!

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Mike Britt September 11, 2014 at 10:30 pm

OH.. so now it’s USC’s fault that your coaches are scumbags?

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cap'n'crunch September 9, 2014 at 8:46 pm

I have no idea if the litigation is legit, but I will say say when the USC womens soccer team faced a sexual harassment lawsuit films were pretty scandalized. Turns out, it was all bullshit. The filing of a lawsuit isn’t news. The outcome is. Let’s wait and see.

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cap'n'crunch September 9, 2014 at 8:47 pm

One say, and folks, not films. Goddamn autocorrect.

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David September 9, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Allegations are different than facts. I would like to know if she was seen by a doctor of her choosing or someone that the attorney recommended. This world is becoming too politically correct in this soccer trophy generation where everyone gets a prize or award, The weak don’t get stronger, they sue and complain of wrong doing when they don’t get enough playing time, or something didn’t go their way. I strongly question this. Shouldn’t this girl have said no and stopped participating at any point? Don’t blame others when you are a willful participant.

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RogerThatChief September 10, 2014 at 12:02 pm

She willingly let this hazing happen. If someone blindfolded me and told me to blindly run I’d flip them the finger, take off the blindfold, and walk away. Nobody put a gun to her head and told her to run, only then would she have been ‘forced’. Additionally, if I ran into a wall and was knocked unconscious and woke up bloody, I’d go see a doctor. She also made the choice not to see a doctor to have this dealt with properly. Not feeling too sorry for her right now…

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a face in the crowd September 10, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Who gives a shit what you would do? Do you know anything about group pressure? Take your idiotic cliches back to the basement.

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seriously? September 10, 2014 at 1:27 pm

This young lady has been on Clemson’s dean’s list nearly every semester thru spring of 2014, majoring in bioengineering. Brain damage can’t be too bad.

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Greg September 10, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Funny to watch a conversation when nobody in the conversation has a clue as to what happened.

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Learned Hand September 10, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Fitsnews needs to investigate and find out what the hazing rituals were like in “the early 1900s.” Before Women’s soccer became a varsity sport at Clemson in the 1990s. That has to be a typo in the Complaint

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Benjamin September 11, 2014 at 12:57 am

I’m a Clemson student and the story is not hard to believe at all. Everyone talks about the student body’s ‘southern hospitality’ – well, that only extends to small pleasantries such as holding the door. I’ve noticed a real distinct mean streak in the students here. They keep it hid pretty good. I’m sure the administration is distraught that this is coming to light right as they reach their goal of getting in the top 20 of public universities.

Behavior like this borders on the sadistic. No one should find this acceptable.

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VoiceofReason September 12, 2014 at 8:00 am

You have no clue or evidence of what you’re saying. Independent surveys cearly show that CU students are some of the happiest.

No CU student that I know or that my son knows would say this. You are either not a student or are disgruntled at something.

Visit the campus for yourself and you will see that this so called student has no clue.

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lorisc September 12, 2014 at 8:45 am

And you know this to be true all 21,000 students? Every student is happy and polite? It sounds to me like you might be a little out of touch with reality. This student’s experience is just as real as your son’s.

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VoiceofReason September 12, 2014 at 9:53 am

Look at the surveys. They are readily available on the web.

Better yet, visit the campus and see it in person. I challenge you to do it.

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Benjamin September 12, 2014 at 11:14 am

No clue what I’m saying? Visit the campus? You must lack reading comprehension, because I clearly stated that I attend Clemson. You seem to be incapable of coping with diversity of opinion. This doesn’t surprise me – seems to be another common trait of Clemson students, the majority of which look and act like clones.

I encourage anyone who’s interested to visit, by all means. Certainly don’t take my word for it, it could be a great fit for you. What I say is 100% backed up by my experiences here though.

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APainter September 25, 2014 at 8:40 pm

One night driving down Shiloh Road a couple of years ago I came across what I first thought was a wreck there in front of the old school. I stopped, got out and asked the group of young men if everything was okay. That’s when I noticed that one of them was on the ground on his knees and had a 5 gallon bucket on his head. There was a strong smell of urine in the air and the kid on the ground was soaked.

I asked at that point what was going on, and two of the young men walked toward me and told me they were on the Clemson Track team and that I needed to just go on, this was none of my business. I pushed one of them aside, walked over to the kid on the ground and pulled the bucket off of his head. He was breathing heavily and his eyes were tightly shut. I asked him “Son, are you okay?”. He hesitated, then nodded. I said “Are you sure?” and he nodded again. I put the bucket on the ground, looked at the other young men (I believe there were four of them, but it was dark. There may have been more that stepped away from the group when I pulled up.) and said “I’m calling the police. This is county property, and you are trespassing. I think you all need to get back into your vehicle and head back to campus.” One of the kids said something insulting under his breath, but a couple of the others said “Yes ma’am” and I headed back to the car. As I was getting in my car I looked back at them and they were all walking back to their SUV, but one of the boys kicked the boy that had been on the ground in the backside, causing him to stumble and almost fall.

I did call the police, and the next day I called Clemson and spoke with someone in their athletic program. They promised me the matter would be looked into. I doubt it though.

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