Former Saddle Tramp Member Speaks Out About Alleged Hazing Incident - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/8/06

Former Saddle Tramp Member Speaks Out About Alleged Hazing Incident

New developments in an alleged hazing incident surrounding the Texas Tech Saddle Tramps. The Lubbock district attorney's office is asking Texas Tech police to re-open their investigation into what happened the night of January 26th.

The school has already suspended the organization which is evident by the empty seats at basketball games. We've also learned that the student judiciary committee is planning its own investigation. Saddle Tramp sponsor Chris Snead says the group made a mistake and hopes the members have learned a lesson. "When you say hazing, it's a lightening rod word meaning physical violence or punishment but it was nothing like that."

During the suspension, you will still see Raider Red, the women's spirit group, the Higher Riders is taking on that responsibility.

Meanwhile, former Saddle Tramps members from all over the state have been calling the sponsor trying to figure out what will happen to their organization. Some alumni worry new members may be taking some of the Tramps' time honored traditions too far.

NewsChanne 11 spoke with a Tramp alumni that says you must pass a test to become a Saddle Tramp. It does involve the Bell Tower, the same place where the Texas Tech police caught this year's pledges, but the former member says it does not include hazing.

"It's usually pretty innocent." The former Saddle Tramp member wanted to stay anonymous so he could tell NewsChannel 11 the history behind Saddle Tramp initiations. "The tradition is very old, it goes back to the very beginning of the organization. This joking around at the Bell Tower is new maybe in the past ten years or so."

Tradition says the pledges are brought to the Bell Tower and are told to climb the steps and count every stair on their way up. When they reach the top, they have to give the correct number, before they can be called a Saddle Tramp.

The Bell Tower tradition is not what was in question this time. It's what the pledges were reportedly wearing. But was it hazing or innocent fun?

"There's maybe a little public humiliation, but it's in the middle of the night, no one is out there." The Tramp says he remembers the night he was initiated. "When I was a pledge it included a lot would wear white it-shirts and the members would write phrases on them. Then we'd have the pledge bring random things like jumper cables to get them scared, to make them start thinking a little bit, then we told them to show up at the Bell Tower."

He says the original tradition is harmless but what he and other alumni are asking is was tradition followed or did it get out of hand this year? "We would like to see the organization strap down and get down to business and do what they're supposed to be doing."

The former member we spoke with says the Saddle Tramps aim to be leaders in the Tech community but speculates members are getting younger and that may explain why things could've got out of hand this year.

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