Anthropology Dept. Forms Eight Committees in Response to Harassment and Gender Bias Concerns
Harvard Cancels Summer 2021 Study Abroad Programming
UC Showcases Project Shedding Light on How Harvard Uses Student Data
Four Bank Robberies Strike Cambridge in Three Weeks
After a Rocky Year, Harvard Faces an Uncertain Economic Climate in 2021, Hollister Says
In what appears to have been a yearly team tradition, a member of Harvard’s 2012 men’s soccer team produced a document that, in sexually explicit terms, individually assessed and evaluated freshmen recruits from the 2012 women’s soccer team based on their perceived physical attractiveness and sexual appeal.
The author and his teammates referred to the nine-page document as a “scouting report,” and the author circulated the document over the group’s email list on July 31, 2012.
In lewd terms, the author of the report individually evaluated each female recruit, assigning them numerical scores and writing paragraph-long assessments of the women. The document also included photographs of each woman, most of which, the author wrote, were culled from Facebook or the Internet.
The author of the “report” often included sexually explicit descriptions of the women. He wrote of one woman that “she looks like the kind of girl who both likes to dominate, and likes to be dominated.”
Each woman was assigned a hypothetical sexual “position” in addition to her position on the soccer field.
“She seems relatively simple and probably inexperienced sexually, so I decided missionary would be her preferred position,” the author wrote about one woman. “Doggy style,” “The Triple Lindy,” and “cowgirl” were listed as possible positions for other women.
The author also assigned each woman a nickname, calling one woman “Gumbi” because “her gum to tooth ratio is about 1 to 1.”
“For that reason I am forced to rate her a 6,” the author added.
“She seems to be very strong, tall and manly so, I gave her a 3 because I felt bad. Not much needs to be said on this one folks,” the author wrote about another woman.
Concluding his assessment of one woman, the author wrote, “Yeah… She wants cock.”
The “report” appears to have been an annual practice. At the beginning of the document, the author writes that “while some of the scouting report last year was wrong, the overall consensus that” a certain player “was both the hottest and the most STD ridden was confirmed.”
Several members of the 2012 men’s team declined to comment on the document, including whether subsequent men’s soccer teams continued to create similar “reports.”
Before the document was sent out to the team, an older member had emailed the list ordering that “someone man up and send out a proper scouting report on the incoming freshman [sic] for girl’s team.” Responding to that email, another teammate addressed the author, writing “what the fuck where are you on this?”
When the document was sent, several members of the team responded to the email. One member expressed approval of the document, writing “hahahahaha well done.”
The document and the entire email list the team used that season were, until recently, publicly available and searchable through Google Groups, an email list-serv service offered through Google.
Director of Athletics Robert L. Scalise viewed the document for the first time Monday and said he had been unaware of the document until then.
Directly after seeing the document, he said “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.”
He added: “It’s very disappointing and disturbing that people are doing this.”
Scalise said the document reflects issues that extend far beyond Harvard’s campus.
“We’re not insulated from these types of things,” he said. “These things exist in our society. Society hasn't figured out a way to stop these things from happening.”
“Whenever you have groups of people that come together there’s a potential for this to happen,” Scalise added.
“It could be an individual, it could be a group, it could be a rooming group, it could be an athletic team,” he said.
Pressed on whether the “scouting report” affected campus culture beyond impacting “the kind of learning environment” that Scalise described, he said “I don’t have a comment on that right now. I have to think about it a little.”
“We need a little bit of time to just think about it and not rush to anything,” Scalise said. “But it’s totally inappropriate and disturbing.”
Though Scalise said his first steps for responding to the document would “certainly” include speaking to coaches of both men’s and women’s athletic teams, he added that “there’s a role for the administration at the College to also play in this” in addition to the athletics department.
Any reaction to the document, though, should be “an internal Harvard matter,” Scalise said.
“This is not a media thing,” Scalise said. “This is something that should be looked at by us in the administration to figure out what our steps are, but we shouldn’t do anything more with the media on this other than ‘thank you for letting us know about this, okay. We need to look at it.’”
First contacted about the document late Friday afternoon, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana did not respond to multiple requests for an in-person meeting to view the document. College spokesperson Rachael Dane wrote in an email that Khurana was unavailable for an in-person interview. Khurana instead emailed a statement, after Dane had viewed the document herself in person.
“As a human being, and a member of the Harvard College community, I am always profoundly disturbed and upset by allegations of sexism, because I feel it is wrong and antithetical to this institution’s fundamental values,” Khurana wrote. “No one should be objectified. In light of all the attention that has been given to issues of inclusion, gender equity, and personal integrity at Harvard and elsewhere, we must work together to build a community of which we can all be proud.”
Khurana also wrote that because “I was not Dean of Harvard College in 2012 and do not have knowledge of this particular email, I cannot speak to the alleged conduct of these particular students.”
Evelynn M. Hammonds, who was the Dean of the College in 2012, deferred comment to Dane.
“When I first heard of this report from the Crimson, I was shocked and disgusted,” wrote current Men’s Soccer Coach Pieter S. Lehrer in a statement provided by Director of Athletic Communications Tim Williamson. “I will take this opportunity to address this document from 2012 with my current athletes. I hope their seeing how offensive and hurtful this is will be a valuable lesson for everyone involved with this program.”
Neither Lehrer, who was not the men’s soccer coach at the time of the 2012 email, nor the team’s current captains responded directly to inquiries as to whether there were “reports” produced after 2012.
“The information contained in this document from 2012 is unacceptable, and I am saddened to see this level of disrespect shown to these women,” wrote Women’s Soccer Coach Christopher P. Hamblin in an emailed statement, adding that “since Coach Lehrer's hire in 2013, I have seen a huge shift in the culture of the men's soccer program at Harvard.”
The document, though written four years ago, surfaces amid a year at Harvard defined, in many ways, by campus discourse about gender equity and campus sexual harassment. It also comes at a time in which national conversations on the current presidential campaign focus on the same subject. After the surfacing of a 2005 tape in which Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump boasts about groping women, Trump dismissed his comments as “locker-room banter.”
In March, a University-wide task force on sexual assault prevention released a report aiming to address what University President Drew G. Faust called a “troubling” climate of sexual misconduct on campus.
—Staff writer C. Ramsey Fahs can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ramseyfahs
Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.