SHANGHAI—At an alumni event here Friday meant to showcase Harvard’s men’s basketball team, Vice Provost for International Affairs Mark C. Elliott condemned a sexually explicit “scouting report” produced by a member of the 2012 men’s soccer team.
“We expect the very highest standards of our student athletes,” Elliott said. “We almost always realize those expectations. But there are times when we fall short, and as many of you will have read in recent weeks, we have had some disappointing news from the men’s soccer team as well as from the men’s cross country team.”
Men’s basketball traveled to Shanghai last week to play against Stanford in the annual Pac-12 China Game and a Chinese team in an exhibition game.
At the event Friday, about 100 alumni, former Harvard basketball players, professors, and University deans gathered in the Harvard Center Shanghai. Elliott updated alumni about University business, including the cancellation of the men’s soccer season after Harvard’s Office of the General Counsel found the team continued to produce vulgar documents rating women on their perceived sexual appeal and physical appearance through 2016. The University’s legal counsel reviewed the team after The Crimson first reported on the 2012 “scouting report” last month.
Last week, The Crimson also reported that past men’s cross country teams produced yearly spreadsheets matching members of the women’s team with members of the men’s team ahead of an annual dance. Some of these spreadsheets were “sexually explicit,” according to team captain Brandon E. Price ’17.
Athletics Director Robert L. Scalise was originally slated to travel with the team, but cancelled his trip “in part” because Harvard found the soccer team continued to produce the documents.
Elliott applauded University President Drew G. Faust for asking the Office of the General Counsel to review the men’s soccer team, whose actions he called “scandalous.”
“The message was sent, sent very clearly, not at Harvard. This kind of thing doesn’t happen at Harvard. Can’t be allowed to happen. Can’t go unpunished,” he said.
“We stand as one Harvard, committed to ensuring that sexist and misogynistic conduct on campus doesn’t happen, that it has no place at Harvard,” Elliott continued. “Not on the playing field, not in the classroom, not in the laboratory, not in our offices, nowhere. And with a woman leading the University as president, really how could it be otherwise?”
Pusey Minister in Memorial Church Jonathan L. Walton also spoke at the alumni event, discussing the importance of intercollegiate athletics at Harvard and how the interaction between the men’s and women’s programs should act as a model for university athletics to develop strong morals and combat sexism and racism.
“Harvard basketball models for us why diversity is so important,” Walton said. “I’ve witnessed kids across racial, regional, ethnic, national, and gender lines learning from one another, supporting one another, inspiring one another, to dig deeper, to stretch further, to reach higher. This is what men’s and women’s athletics can provide, particularly when the teams work together across gender lines.”
During a question and answer portion of the night, alumni also asked how the University was responding to the election of President-Elect Donald Trump.
Elliott said that while much about Trump’s future administration is still to be determined, he indicated the University has begun to consider the implications of his victory. Elliott, in his role as vice provost for international affairs, said he was concerned for undocumented immigrants at Harvard.
“I think that we are mindful of the fact that by admitting these students to the University, we have committed to a kind of contract with them, a moral contract certainly, and it’s certainly my hope, and I think that it would be shared by most of us, that this is a commitment we need to hold to,” Elliott said. “How to do that is a more complicated question for sure and it’s one that we’re giving very serious thought to.”
—Staff writer Theresa C. Hebert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Stephen J. Gleason contributed to the reporting of this story.
Julius Warren Strauss.In the death of Julius Warren Strauss, we have lost a very promising classmate. He was a thorough and conscientious
Harvard Cancels Men’s Soccer Season After Finding Sexually Explicit 'Reports' Continued Through 2016
Holding Ourselves AccountableIt is disappointing enough that the 2012 men’s soccer team produced such a report. It is even more disappointing, but perhaps not surprising, that the men’s soccer team has continued this tradition of objectifying, belittling, and demeaning their female counterparts.
Athletics Director Changes Travel Plans After Soccer Season CancelledDirector of Athletics Robert L. Scalise cancelled his trip to China with the men's basketball team "in part because" of Harvard's cancelling of the men's soccer team's season.
Harvard Athletics Director Asks General Counsel to Review Men’s Cross Country Team