Statement from Texas Cowboys on their 6-year suspension from the University

Editor's note: The following is a statement from Eddie Lopez, president of the Texas Cowboys Alumni Association, on the Texas Cowboys' six-year suspenison from the University.

The Texas Cowboys have served the UT and greater Austin community for nearly a century. For example, our members have volunteered tens of thousands of community service hours, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity, and contributed to campus learning through activities such as hosting a lectureship series featuring world leaders on campus. Consequently, we are disappointed by the University’s decision today, and are saddened that it may prevent our organization from continuing this legacy of service. Throughout the investigation our entire organization has been completely transparent, engaged, and accessible. Indeed, the University has repeatedly complimented our members’ cooperation during the investigation. As an organization, we are disappointed by the misconduct of certain student members. In fact, we have expelled and suspended from our organization the students who were connected to the hazing. Their actions violated University regulations and did not align with our organization’s standards – and they do not represent the heart and soul of our organization.

However, hazing did not cause the car accident that took Nicky Cumberland’s life. The University’s ruling expressly determined that sleep deprivation did not occur at the retreat. According to the University, “multiple members reported that they were able to go to sleep at various times of the night . . . as well, no one reported having been prevented from sleeping.” The car accident was a tragic event that claimed the life of an exceptional person. We continue to mourn with Mr. Cumberland’s family and loved ones. Our organization is committed to learning, growing, and using this tragedy to educate and prepare the next generation of leaders to do better – and to more effectively serve others. However, we cannot accomplish these goals if the Texas Cowboys are no longer permitted to operate as an official student organization. Our leaders are currently reviewing their options and will make a decision shortly on how to proceed.