Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > News

Amherst Just Suspended its Men’s Cross Country Team Over Sexist Emails

The men’s cross country team from Amherst College in Massachusetts was suspended Sunday for disturbing racist, sexist and homophobic emails and social media comments shared between the members.

The messages were first reported in Amherst’s student-run magazine, The Indicator, which shared a series of emails and messages sent from June 2013 to August 2015. Many of the messages were sent to incoming freshman, USA Today reported. The college ordered an immediate suspension of all team activities and are investigating.

According to The Indicator, a junior on the team released a list containing eight names and details about the women’s alleged sexual history. One woman was referred to as “a walking STD,” while another was called a “meat slab” and a third was called a “stuck up, snobby, bitch; AKA the perfect formal date for the desperate members of our team.” When another player responded to the email saying it was “one of the most fucked up things ive read in a while,” the other team members tried to backtrack, saying that the team isn’t misogynistic and that the author of the email had simply gone too far with a joke. But right after apologizing, the team went back to making inappropriate comments on the thread.

Amherst President Biddy Martin said the messages were “appalling” in a statement on the college website. He also called the messages “cruel and hateful,” and said that “no attempt to rationalize them will change that.”

Don Faulstick, Amherst’s athletic director, also commented, saying that the cross-country team’s behavior was “disgusting” and that their actions had “no place on our sports teams or anywhere at our College.”

The Amherst cross country team has since apologized, releasing a statement in The Indicator. “We, the members of the Amherst Men’s Cross Country Team, sincerely and deeply apologize to the entire Amherst community for the pain caused by our recently published remarks. There are no words to justify what was said and we are all responsible for the harm inflicted by our team’s comments,” the statement read.

While it is notable that the team has come forward to address these hateful and insensitive comments, more needs to be done within the cross country team environment to ensure that these incidents won’t happen again. The men’s soccer team at Harvard and the men’s wrestling team at Columbia were recently suspended for similar incidents—there’s clearly something going on in the male locker rooms of America that needs to be changed. It’s time for men to stop acting as if women and minorities are just around for their amusement. Guess what? We’re people too, and we’re not going to let men get away with this stuff anymore.

Casey is a college student studying Journalism and Strategic Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enjoys chocolate, horror movies, Netflix binge-watching, and sharing college advice on her blog www.caseydonart.com.