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University of Mary Washington rugby club suspended over sexually offensive chant

A rugby player with ball. (AP photo)

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP/WJLA) - The University of Mary Washington has suspended activities for its men's rugby team after officials there said an audio recording captured some team members chanting a song with violent and sexually explicit lyrics.

In an email to the university community, president Rick Hurley said the school imposed sanctions because the team's actions violated its code of conduct for club sports.

According to the school, the recording featured several team members at an off-campus party at the end of the fall semester. Officials say the chant contained sexually explicit, derogatory and violent language.

Some students have been exposed to the "offensive and lurid lyrics due to posting by others on social media," Hurley wrote.

The school would not provide a copy of the audio recording.

"No student on our campus should feel unsafe, ostracized, or threatened," Hurley wrote. "We pride ourselves on being a diverse, accepting, caring community, and we must live up to that ideal."

The sanctions imposed at the beginning of the semester were appealed and upheld. In addition, the team must participate in sensitivity training and education sessions.

The incident at the Fredericksburg school follows recent news of a fraternity at the University of Oklahoma that was disbanded after its members were caught on video engaging in a racist chant. North Carolina State University also disbanded a fraternity chapter after the discovery of a notebook filled with sexist and racially offensive entries in a restaurant off campus.

The University of Mary Washington was founded in 1908 and has about 4,000 undergraduate students.

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