AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Texas Cowboys has been suspended from the University of Texas at Austin for six years due to hazing allegations, according to the UT Office of the Dean of Students.
An investigation was conducted after allegations came forward that hazing took place at a retreat the night before a new member, Nicholas Cumberland, was injured in a wreck.
Cumberland later died from his injuries.
In September of 2018, Cumberland was in a pickup truck with other members of the Texas Cowboys, en route back to Austin from a retreat, when it rolled over in Lampasas County.
Nicholas Cumberland was injured, and died on October 30th from his injuries.
UT's Office of the Dean of Students handed down the suspension, along with a two-year probationary period after reinstatement, on Wednesday. According to a discipline report, UT Austin said the Texas Cowboys violated rules that prohibit hazing, behavior threatening the health or safety of students, employees or visitors and alcohol misconduct.
The Office of the Dean of Students also decreed no sub-groups of the Cowboys will be allowed. The group has the option to accept the sanction, appeal it or request a formal hearing.
UT Austin President Greg Fenves released the following statement:
The University of Texas at Austin lost a cherished student last year — Nicky Cumberland. For the last six months, our thoughts have remained with the Cumberland family. We mourn alongside them. And we wish them peace.
Let me make clear — there is no place for hazing at The University of Texas. The mission of this university — to educate, learn, discover and serve — can only be accomplished in an environment where we respect each other. Where we look after our neighbors, peers and friends.
The Dean of Students has conducted a thorough investigation. The appeals process is still underway, and each case is judged on its facts.
Following the announcement, the Texas Cowboys Alumni Association released the below statement:
The Texas Cowboys have served the UT and greater Austin community for nearly a century. For example, our members have volunteered tens of thousands of community service hours, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity, and contributed to campus learning through activities such as hosting a lectureship series featuring world leaders on campus. Consequently, we are disappointed by the University’s decision today, and are saddened that it may prevent our organization from continuing this legacy of service. Throughout the investigation our entire organization has been completely transparent, engaged, and accessible. Indeed, the University has repeatedly complimented our members’ cooperation during the investigation. As an organization, we are disappointed by the misconduct of certain student members. In fact, we have expelled and suspended from our organization the students who were connected to the hazing. Their actions violated University regulations and did not align with our organization’s standards – and they do not represent the heart and soul of our organization.
However, hazing did not cause the car accident that took Nicky Cumberland’s life. The University’s ruling expressly determined that sleep deprivation did not occur at the retreat. According to the University, “multiple members reported that they were able to go to sleep at various times of the night . . . as well, no one reported having been prevented from sleeping.” The car accident was a tragic event that claimed the life of an exceptional person. We continue to mourn with Mr. Cumberland’s family and loved ones. Our organization is committed to learning, growing, and using this tragedy to educate and prepare the next generation of leaders to do better – and to more effectively serve others. However, we cannot accomplish these goals if the Texas Cowboys are no longer permitted to operate as an official student organization. Our leaders are currently reviewing their options and will make a decision shortly on how to proceed.