JUST a few weeks ago the University of the Fraser Valley’s wrestling co-head coaches Arjan Bhullar and Raj Virdi could justifiably boast of how their new Cascades program’s first-ever trip to the Canada West championship yielded a bronze medal for the men’s team. Jasmit Phulka won the gold in the 82 kg class. His brother Chanmit Phulka won the gold in the 100 kg class. The Cascades also won three silver medals: Aso Palani (61 kg), Devin Purewal (72 kg), Brad Hildenbrandt (90 kg) and Manheet Kalhon (120 kg).
But last weekend all that glory had turned into embarrassment with everybody trying to avoid the media as the Abbotsford News newspaper revealed that four male wrestlers from UFV had been suspended from competing at a national championship on the weekend and were part of a “conduct investigation” at the university.
The university authorities would not say anything beyond the official statement: “As per standard practice and privacy legislation, the university cannot comment on any pending conduct investigations. We take all allegations under conduct very seriously.”
But the newspaper reported that the investigation was in the aftermath of the Canada West championships on February 13 and 14 at the University of Calgary.
Both the Calgary Police and Abbotsford Police spokespersons told the media that they had received no complaints from any witnesses or victims as yet, though Abbotsford Police spokesperson Constable Ian MacDonald told CTV last weekend that three university students had come to them with concerns relating to the suspension of four male UFV athletes.
“They’ve heard rumours, no specifics, but they’ve heard rumbling, and they want this to be on the community’s radar and to a certain extent on the APD’s radar. It certainly is,” Macdonald told CTV.
CTV reported that there are allegations of harassment on social media, though the university would not confirm this. One alleged victim’s family members who did not want to be identified said the situation has taken a deep emotional toll on the family.
CTV later reported that their sources told them that it all happened at a party in Calgary that got out of hand.
UFV spokesperson Dave Pinton in an email to CTV said: “The University of the Fraser Valley takes any allegation under conduct policy very seriously. It is the university’s practice to work with the authorities whenever there is a criminal investigation initiated.”
Co-coach Bhullar told CTV: “I’m not going to comment at this time. The university has asked us to wait until the investigation plays out.”