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.  

3 thoughts on “A Statement From Amherst Men’s Cross Country”

  1. In response to the comments made by the editor, your attempts to guide or direct our grieving, healing and rebuilding process are unwanted and inappropriate. It was extremely inconsiderate to release this article without a slight warning to groups that you knew would be affected. The real victims of this situation are the individuals who now will have the ringing words that you quoted replaying over and over again in their heads. Once again, in this type of circumstance, victims are further victimized when they should be the primary consideration.

    1. Thank you for your comment. We want to emphasize that we respect the right of the targeted individuals to dictate the terms of their own grieving, healing, and rebuilding.

      Out of concern for the privacy and agency of those targeted, we have made every effort to unambiguously refer directly only to the Amherst College men’s cross country team’s actions. None of the cross country team’s quoted messages provide any information that might readily identify the individuals targeted out of respect for them. If members of the general public have of their own volition attempted to investigate the messages in order to identify those targeted, we would strongly condemn them and urge them to respect the privacy of those individuals as we have.

      We understand the team may have chosen independently of our reporting to reach out to those individuals to reveal to them that they were targeted. In our editorial, we voiced concern about this specific choice. We are not responsible for any decisions the team may have made in their handling of this situation.

  2. Will the perpetrators be permanently suspended from the team? Not sure I want my daughter having to interact with these fine young men who think of women as “meat slabs” on a daily basis for the next four years.

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