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The Boston Globe

Ideas

Ideas

How to change a culture

If you want to redirect the behavior of a crowd, here’s a tip: don’t be too idealistic about human nature.

The Boston University hockey team has a crisis on its hands. Last December, one player was charged with sexual assault; just a few months later, another was charged with rape. And though only two of the team’s players have been formally accused of wrongdoing—and the rape charge was dropped in June—there has been a sense ever since the scandal broke that their alleged crimes were not isolated incidents, but symptoms of something deeper.

Then, earlier this month, the task force conducting the investigation confirmed that suspicion. In a disturbing report, it identified a “culture of sexual entitlement” that had taken root among the players. This was not a matter of a few individuals that could simply be kicked off the team: It was something intangible and pervasive. Now, as the university responds to the problem, it faces the challenge of stamping that out. What it needs to do, in other words, is change a culture.

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