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Carleton College Suspends 13 Over Hazing; Assault Alleged

NORTHFIELD, Minn. — Officials at a small private college say they suspended 13 students over hazing at an initiation into a secret social club that involved extreme alcohol consumption, and police are investigating a reported sexual assault that followed.

Carleton College said it suspended the students for three trimesters, or one academic year, for violating the school’s code of conduct. Their actions “compromised the safety of at least 13 fellow students” in the incident in the early-morning hours of April 28, the school said.

The school also announced the reported sexual assault but gave no details, citing privacy. Monte Nelson, the chief of police in Northfield, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of Minneapolis, said it came from a female student who said she was assaulted by a male on April 28.

Nelson said the alleged sexual assault was reported to police May 3. He said police aren’t investigating the alleged hazing.

The school gave no details of the hazing and didn’t say how students were harmed. The dean of students, Carolyn Livingston, didn’t reply to a call Monday seeking comment. Carleton has no fraternities or sororities.

“Carleton has strong policies prohibiting hazing,” President Steven Poskanzer and Livington wrote in a May 18 email to students, faculty and staff. “We will not condone such behavior. Further, we will examine and strengthen our education programs and awareness about hazing and alcohol abuse as we move forward.”

It’s the second time a college in Northfield has made headlines in recent weeks. At nearby St. Olaf College, hundreds of students boycotted classes and protested after a black student found a racist and threatening message left on her vehicle’s windshield last month. Administrators said a student later confessed to fabricating the note.

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