Amherst College in Massachusetts suspended its men’s cross-country team over “racist, misogynist, and homophobic” emails and social media exchanges between its members, the college said Sunday.
The team’s activities were suspended immediately pending an investigation into the emails and messages, which were reported by the student magazine, The Indicator.
One 2015 team-wide email sent by a current junior member of the cross-country team to first-year recruits included a list of women with their photos and their supposed sexual proclivities, The Indicator reported.
In the email chain, one member referred to a woman as “a walking STD” and another as a “meat slab.” He described a third woman as “stuck up, snobby, bitch; AKA the perfect formal date for the desperate members of our team.”
After another team member responded to the list saying, “That was one of the most fucked up things ive read in a while,” the junior member who sent the list apologized on the email chain, The Indicator reported.
The athletic director informed President Biddy Martin that members of the team had confirmed the nature of the messages, which had been occurring for several years, Martin said in a statement Sunday.
“The messages are appalling,” Martin said. “They are not only vulgar, they are cruel and hateful. No attempt to rationalize them will change that.”
The athletic director, Don Faulstick, called the team’s behavior “disgusting.”
“The exchanges and the behavior described in the article — which team members acknowledge — are disgusting,” Faulstick said in a statement. “They have no place on our sports teams or anywhere at our College. They violate the ‘zero-tolerance’ standard toward bigotry of any kind that we explicitly set for our athletes.”
The men’s cross-country team issued an apology Monday, saying they were “embarrassed and ashamed” by some of their members’ behavior.
“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,” the team said in a statement. “There are no words to justify what was said and we are all responsible for the harm inflicted by our team’s comments. We are embarrassed and ashamed by what was said by some members of our team.”