2016-11-06 06:25:09 UTC
Harvard soccer team suspended over sex comments
Harvard University has suspended its men's soccer team after players
made sexual comments about members of the women's team.
A document uncovered by Harvard's student newspaper included ratings
of the attractiveness of female players as well as sexually explicit
University President Drew Faust called the behaviour "appalling".
The team, currently in first place in the Ivy League, will forfeit the
rest of its games this season.
In what reports indicate may be a yearly tradition, male soccer
players at Harvard circulated documents with pictures of their female
counterparts, rating their attractiveness from one to 10 and giving
reasons for their decisions.
They also noted which sexual position they thought the women in
question would prefer.
Until recently, the Harvard Crimson newspaper reports, documents from
2012 were publicly accessible through a former team's Google Group.
Ms Faust said an investigation had found that the practice had
continued to the current season.
She wrote that she "was deeply distressed to learn that the appalling
actions of the 2012 men's soccer team were not isolated to one year or
the actions of a few individuals".
Ms Faust added in a statement: "The decision to cancel a season is
serious and consequential, and reflects Harvard's view that both the
team's behaviour and the failure to be forthcoming when initially
questioned are completely unacceptable, have no place at Harvard, and
run counter to the mutual respect that is a core value of our
US college sexism and 'rape culture'
The discovery of sexually explicit comments made by male Harvard
athletes is at the milder end of what has been dubbed US college "rape
Banners regularly appear at the beginning of the academic year bearing
slogans such as: "Rowdy and fun. Hope your baby girl is ready for a
Studies have found that members of US college fraternities are three
times more likely to commit rape than other male students while
members of sororities were 74% more likely to experience sexual
Past scandals include an email sent around one fraternity entitled
"Luring your rapebait" and fraternity members chanting "No means yes".
The most recent case involved a Stanford University swimming champion
who sexually assaulted an unconscious female student before being
jailed for six months - a term condemned by many as too short.
Last week after the original story came out, the female players in
question said they were "appalled that female athletes who are told to
feel empowered and proud of their abilities are so regularly reduced
to a physical appearance".
In an opinion piece published in the Crimson, they said: "More than
anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have
faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives."
The university's director of athletics, Robert Scalise, said: "It's
very disappointing and disturbing that people are doing this.
"Any time a member of our community says things about other people who
are in our community that are disparaging, it takes away from the
potential for creating the kind of learning environment that we'd like
to have here at Harvard."
The men's soccer coach Pieter Lehrer wrote in a statement to the
Crimson that the team was "beyond disappointed that our season has
ended in this way, but we respect the decision made by our