Men’s Cross Country Program on Probation Through 2018 Season
Issue   |   Tue, 01/24/2017 - 23:04

Following the investigation of the Amherst men’s cross country team that began in early Dec. 2016, the team has been placed on “athletics probation” for four semesters, until the fall of 2018.

On Dec. 11, the student-run commentary publication, The Indicator, reported on emails that were exchanged between members of the Amherst men’s cross country team containing material that was derogatory to people of color, women, and many other groups.

The email chain was maintained as an “introduction to the team” for new members and incoming students. The Indicator highlighted a specific email, sent by a team member in June 2015, depicting the “Friends of Amherst (XC),” a series of eight women whose supposed sexual histories and preferences were described.

Aditionally, members of the team encouraged incoming first-years to engage in similarly offensive behavior. Throughout the several years that the emails were exchanged, there were few objections from team members, and any disagreement was “handled” internally.

Shortly after The Indicator released its statement, President Biddy Martin sent an email to the Amherst community condemning the actions of the men’s cross country team, telling students, staff, faculty and parents that the college was taking the necessary steps to investigate the incident and discipline accordingly.

Nearly a month later, the college released a statement that details the extent of the ramifications, “taking into account the differences in the nature and extent of involvement by various team members.” Don Faulstick, director of athletics, worked with both the Amherst administration and external investigators to define consequences that “uphold the College’s values and standards of conduct.” Beyond the probation of the cross-country program, every individual involved is required to undergo what Faulstick calls an “educational process” before returning to the team.

Individuals that investigators determined were more deeply involved in the incident received suspension from competition for a specified period of time. The suspensions range from several competitions to the duration of the athletes’ time at Amherst. Because nearly every cross-country athlete participates in the indoor track and field winter season, Faulstick and Amherst leadership also indicated that a baseline punishment of suspension through the end of January for cross-country athletes running track was appropriate.

The only exceptions to these disciplinary measures are athletes who entered the cross-country program in Fall 2016 or Spring 2017. These first-year athletes have been allowed to participate in indoor competition and have been a huge asset to the men’s indoor track and field program so far this season.

The first of the suspended men’s cross country runners are slated to return to indoor track and field competition this weekend, where they will compete alongside team members at the Springfield College meet on Saturday Jan. 28.

Correction: An earlier version of the article stated that “first-year athletes [would be] unable to participate in cross-country at Amherst until Fall 2019.” This was stated in error, as first years, as well as other members of the team, will be able to compete in cross-country races, but the team will remain on athletic probation until the end of fall 2018. This article was last updated at 5:20pm Jan. 26, 2017.

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Comments
AmhXCParent (not verified) says:
Wed, 01/25/2017 - 16:14

Probation does not mean no one can run cross country until 2019. Check your facts

XC Parent (not verified) says:
Wed, 01/25/2017 - 16:33

Please get clarification on what athletic probation is. Article states team is unable to compete in XC until 2019. Not true!

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