Tiffin University is investigating allegations that members of its men s soccer team were involved in a hazing incident last fall.
An e-mail message sent Thursday evening to the university and area media outlets, including The Blade, included photographs of bare-chested men clad only in boxer shorts and wearing signs around their necks with their names written in marker.
Some of the men have derogatory writings and pictures drawn on them in marker.
Tony Iyayi, one of the freshman soccer players whose picture was posted on the Web site, told The Blade in an interview today that the flap is much ado about nothing. He said he and his teammates got together one night in early September "to have a laugh" and that nobody was upset by what occurred.
"It s not like we were actually hazed or were forced to do anything," he said. "Every freshman did it willingly. We re all grown boys, we re not babies."
In one photo, the group believed to be soccer players looks at a man holding a plastic baseball bat in the air before them with marker writings that includes vulgar words.
Six photographs of what are believed to be Tiffin University soccer players are among 20 posted on a Web site. Most of the men believed to be soccer players in the pictures are smiling in the photos and carrying plastic beverage cups, the contents of which are uncertain. Other photos among the 20 on the page show other people with no shirts on and marker written on their bodies, including one photograph showing three people with their backs to the camera, one appearing to be a woman wearing a bra.
Lisa Williams, a university spokesman, said school officials had no knowledge of the allegations before getting the e-mail. She said some of the photos are not those of Tiffin students.
We only found out yesterday, she said this morning. It was received by e-mail. No one has come forward with any complaints that they were affected by this.
The school s dean of students, Lisa Kirchner, planned to speak with the students in the photographs today as part of the investigation, Ms. Williams added.
The university s student handbook includes a statement on hazing: Tiffin University maintains autonomy over all campus organizations. Any activities that may be construed as hazing are specifically and unequivocally prohibited.
Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.