Zero tolerance can be a confusing concept. In its most common usage, the idea represents a complete lack of tolerance for intolerance, which is a bit like agreeing with someone who claims you disagree with everything they say. This isn’t the only contradiction that the phrase offers. The foundation of a zero tolerance policy seems to contain a tacit admission that nuance exists in whatever issue it governs, but that the complications surrounding the matter are too multifarious to navigate on an individual basis.
Last week, Dalhousie University suspended 19 of the 24 members of its women’s hockey team, effectively forfeiting their current season. This was the result of a six week investigation into a hazing incident that had allegedly occurred in October. In an interview with CTV Atlantic, university spokesman Charles Crosby explained, “We have zero tolerance when it comes to hazing and intimidation at [Dalhousie].” He continued, “When something like this comes to light we are going to take action.”