A Statement From Amherst Men’s Cross Country

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. We are embarrassed and ashamed by what was said by some members of our team. We can never minimize the impact of these comments and sincerely apologize to the groups and individuals directly targeted. We aim to hold ourselves to high standards of respect, but we have fallen painfully short. Criticism is appropriate and deserved. These conversations have real consequences beyond members of our team, and we pledge to work with the Amherst community to change our team culture for the better.

Since the time emails were sent, our team has had conversations about what we need to do to improve. We still have a long way to go, and all current members of our team are committed to being a part of the solution to issues that have plagued us. As a team and as individuals we do not want to hide from any of this. We are all accountable for what has been said and how we improve in the future.

At this time, our team is looking at our individual roles in fostering a toxic culture, meeting with the specific groups who were directly impacted by the email contents, meeting with the athletic department, and reaching out to resources on campus that can best help us understand how we have affected others and what concrete steps we can take as a team.

Once again, we are deeply sorry and hope to work with the community moving forward. We pledge to ensure transparency and accountability in this process, and hope that this apology is the first step to regaining the trust of the many people we have hurt.

–Amherst Men’s Cross Country

Response from the authors of the initial article on this story:

We would caution the team against any attempt to make personal amends to those they targeted out of respect for those individuals. We hope that going forward the team will not seek absolution from those they targeted and will instead focus on internal change. As we worked on our reporting we were careful not to release any information that might identify the individuals who were targeted by the team. We thought about speaking with the targeted individuals to get their consent before releasing identifying information, but we chose not to because we recognized that they might not know that they were targeted. We were also aware that those individuals might be distraught or retraumatized if they were to find out they had been targeted, and our focus was always on the actions of the team.

We also believe it is worth noting that several of the individuals targeted are not members of the Amherst community. We therefore question the team’s decision to suggest that this matter is internal to Amherst.

We commend the men’s cross country team for responding to the racist and misogynist messages that have recently come to light.  

Men’s Cross Country Maintained Misogynistic, Racist Email Chain

by Daniel Ahn, Helen Mayer, and Sam Wohlforth

A current junior member of the Amherst cross-country team sent a team-wide email containing a list of women that described their sexual histories and supposed sexual proclivities next to their photographs on June 14, 2015. The list was directed to the first-year recruits who awaited matriculation to Amherst in the fall, and purported to introduce them to the “friends of Amherst (XC).”

In the email, the team member refers to one woman as “a walking STD,” and writes, “Everyone needs their meatslab,”referring to another. He describes a third woman – “Without being too mean, she is a stuck up, snobby, bitch; AKA the perfect formal date for the desperate members of our team.”

Continue reading Men’s Cross Country Maintained Misogynistic, Racist Email Chain

Editorial: After Men’s XC Emails, Examine All Athlete Spaces

by Helen Mayer, Sam Wohlforth, and Daniel Ahn

We were motivated to write this editorial because we believe that the national conversation started by Donald Trump’s “locker room talk” comments has added precious little to the conversation around sexual violence and athlete culture. Until recently, we had no reason to believe that the Amherst administration might be prepared to act on team-wide messages of the kind exchanged by the Harvard men’s soccer and cross country teams and Columbia men’s wrestling team. We obtained emails from a team-wide mailing list maintained by the Amherst men’s cross country team between June 2013 and August 2015 and found that the contents bear a striking resemblance to the Harvard and Columbia messages. Continue reading Editorial: After Men’s XC Emails, Examine All Athlete Spaces