Harvard’s Office of General Counsel will “conduct an immediate review” of a sexually explicit document circulated among the 2012 men’s soccer team, University President Drew G. Faust said in a statement Tuesday.
Last week, The Crimson reported that the men’s soccer team produced a “scouting report” of that year’s freshmen on the women’s soccer team. Among other derogatory and degrading comments, the “report” rated women based on their physical appearance and evaluated them on their perceived sexual appeal.
After consulting with Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith—whose office oversees the Athletics Department—and Athletic Director Robert L. Scalise, Faust wrote she asked OGC, Harvard’s team of lawyers, to review the “report.” According to Faust, the “OGC’s review will be independent of any responsive action undertaken by the Title IX office in accordance with its policies.”
“I was deeply disturbed to read the news reporting concerning the men’s soccer team. Such behavior is appalling and completely at odds with the mutual respect that is a fundamental value of our community,” Faust wrote. “The offensive and derogatory remarks reported by The Crimson have no place at Harvard.”
It appears that the “scouting reports” were an annual tradition, though Director of Athletics Communications Timothy J. Williamson has repeatedly declined comment on whether reports continued after 2012.
“I want to ensure not only that such actions do not happen again, whether on men’s soccer or any other Harvard team, but also that all members of our community fully understand that such activities have never been, and never will be, acceptable at Harvard,” Faust wrote.
The six members of the women’s soccer team discussed in the “report” responded to The Crimson’s story in a joint op-ed earlier this week.
“We are appalled that female athletes who are told to feel empowered and proud of their abilities are so regularly reduced to a physical appearance,” they wrote.
In a statement provided by Williamson, Scalise wrote that the Athletics Department was “proud and moved by the response of the women's soccer players. Their thoughtful comments and leadership are exemplary."
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Par for the Course?