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UCF KnightMoves Steers Clear of Criminal Hazing Charges, Police Report Says

KnightMoves was not placed on interim suspension following an incident in August, Knight News reported

Derek Warden

A student conduct incident involving the UCF KnightMoves dance team has come into light and into question amid recent allegations of hazing.

According to a police report first obtained and reported on by Knight News, on the morning of Aug. 21, 2019, head coach Linda Gooch reported an incident that mentioned KnightMoves members blindfolding its new members, squirting water at them and placing them “inside a trunk” en route to Chick-fil-A.

The police report stated its purpose was to determine whether or not this incident warrants any criminal charges for hazing.

The police report mentions the main issue of concern was the fact that two new members were “placed inside a trunk.” However, they were not placed in enclosed trunks like those in a sedan; instead they were sitting in the rear space of an SUV.

“This case does not meet the elements of criminal hazing therefore it should be considered unfounded,” the police report said.

The decision not to prosecute was based off the finding that no member of KnightMoves was pressured, coerced or forced to:

  • Violate a state or federal law,
  • Consume any food, liquor, drug or substance,
  • Conduct an activity that could result in extreme embarrassment, or
  • Participate in any activity that would affect the health or safety of anyone involved

All except one new member said they “had fun and believed it to be a good experience,” according to the report.

However, what was supposed to be a “team-bonding” event caused one of the new members to leave KnightMoves because she no longer felt she was a part of the team.

The member, whose name was not mentioned in the report, said the incident in question was “bottled-up” and caused recent depression, as she stated in her resignation letter. According to the report, she said her reason for leaving the team was that she “was no longer having fun.”

All current members of the dance team have experienced a similar incident — what they call a “tradition” — as a new member, the report said.

In addition to the police report, Gooch also submitted a conduct report to the Office of Student Conduct on Dec. 5, 2019. The decision to avoid any criminal charges came on April 14.

Although KnightMoves was not penalized by any UCF authorities, Gooch reprimanded the entire team by prohibiting them from traveling to away games. They were also forbidden from traveling to Tampa for the 2019 Gasparilla Bowl vs. Marshall.

This report recently came into question after UCF fraternity Sigma Chi was placed under review after hazing allegations.

Knight News used the KnightMoves police report to question UCF about its student conduct process regarding Greek and non-Greek affiliated organizations.

“This was not being investigated as an organization case until Student Conduct received the police report from UCFPD. Student Conduct is now reviewing it and will take appropriate action,” according to an email from a UCF spokesperson to Knight News.

KnightMoves was not placed on interim suspension following this incident, Knight News reported, and it is unclear whether UCFPD or the Office of Student Conduct received the incident report first.

Daniella Medina is a contributing writer for the Black & Gold Banneret. Follow her on Twitter @danimedinanews.