[UPDATED] DogHouse fan ejected from Matthews Arena after alleged Title IX complaint

Members of the DogHouse celebrate after the men's hockey team scores a goal during the team's contest against Boston University. Photo courtesy The DogHouse/Justine Newman
Members of the DogHouse celebrate after the men's hockey team scores a goal during the team's contest against Boston University. Photo courtesy The DogHouse/Justine Newman

Updated Nov. 18 to include comment from members of Northeastern University’s Sexual Assault Response Coalition and information about substituted chant sheets Saturday.

By Jenna Ciccotelli, deputy sports editor

A leader of Northeastern University’s student-led fan section was ejected from Friday’s men’s ice hockey game after they failed to comply with regulations set forth by Northeastern Athletics following an alleged student complaint involving Title IX. At the following game Saturday, DogHouse leaders issued a new set of chants slightly different than the original versions.

According to a Friday statement issued by members of the student section, known as the DogHouse, a student filed a report with Northeastern’s Office for University Equity and Compliance after they were offended by alleged slurs on the fan section’s official chant sheet. The DogHouse confirmed on their Twitter account late Friday the chants in question were the section’s regular power play chants — a various assortment of sexual innuendos.

The student complaint was brought to Northeastern Athletics, who informed DogHouse leaders in a phone call Thursday that any chant sheets containing these chants that circulated at the weekend’s games would be removed, according to a DogHouse leader. In addition, members of the DogHouse who performed the chants would be escorted from the arena.

At Saturday night’s hockey game, DogHouse leaders passed out chant sheets with similar words substituted in for the explicit chants.

The updated chant sheet DogHouse leaders passed out Saturday night following a student being ejected at Friday night’s game.

Northeastern’s Office for University Equity and Compliance and Northeastern Athletics were not immediately available for comment.

Members of Northeastern’s Sexual Assault Response Coalition, or SARC, said in a Saturday statement that this decision by Northeastern’s offices was not only appropriate, but overdue.

“The sexual innuendo in these chants is blatantly inappropriate for much of the younger audience at these games, specifically children who come to watch the Huskies play,” the statement read. “More importantly though, the chants create an environment that is not welcoming to survivors of sexual violence, as these chants, and the aggressive nature of them, implies a non-­consensual undertone that could be harmful to folks who have experienced any of the referenced activities in an assault.”

Members of the DogHouse performed one variation of the chant in the second period and another in the third after receiving no reaction from the athletic department. After the second chant, Northeastern University Police officers approached a DogHouse leader and ejected them per instruction from Northeastern Athletics. After the student was escorted from Matthews Arena, several members of the DogHouse left the game in a motion of solidarity.

DogHouse members issued their statement on their Twitter account, which has been active since August 2009, following the conclusion of Friday’s game.

“We acknowledge this law and policy as extremely important to maintaining a healthy university climate for all students,” the statement read. “However, we will not stand by and be censored in the name of a law with no application to this situation.”

According to the DogHouse statement, these chants have been used for 10 years. SARC’s statement said the fact that these chants have been used for an extended length of time does not justify their continued use.

“We want to emphasize that Title IX policies apply to all students, in all contexts, and no students are immune to their enforcement,” the statement read. “It is not up to the leaders of the DogHouse to decide for others what it offensive or hurtful to them. Rather, as representatives of all students who wish to support Northeastern Athletics, the DogHouse leaders should seek to make the environment as inclusive as possible, in order to ensure that Northeastern teams can enjoy the support of a large and enthusiastic audience.”

DogHouse members said in the statement that while their chants could be considered distasteful, but do not target individuals.

“The DogHouse has never and will never target any member of the Northeastern community with our chants,” the statement read. “The chants referenced are said in the context of the sport and being a fan, and are not aimed at any specific individual.”

This is a developing story. The News will make updates as they become available.

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