Amherst College’s Cross Country Team Benched After Gross Messages Surface

They, like their peers at Harvard, allegedly shared perverted critiques of female classmates.
Amherst, Massachusetts, USA - July 3, 2015: Daytime view of the the Johnson Chapel standing at the center of College Row on the Campus of Amherst College

Photo via iStock.com/DenisTangneyJr

Yet another men’s sports team is coming under fire this week for allegedly being awful on the internet, this time at Amherst College. The entire men’s cross country team has been benched after the school’s on-campus magazine reported that the students sent crude messages to one another about female classmates, and their sexual preferences, for several years.

Here’s more, from the publication, called The Indicator:

A current junior member of the Amherst cross-country team sent a team-wide email containing a list of women that described their sexual histories and supposed sexual proclivities next to their photographs on June 14, 2015. The list was directed to the first-year recruits who awaited matriculation to Amherst in the fall, and purported to introduce them to the “friends of Amherst (XC).”

In the email, the team member refers to one woman as “a walking STD,” and writes, “Everyone needs their meatslab,”referring to another. He describes a third woman – “Without being too mean, she is a stuck up, snobby, bitch; AKA the perfect formal date for the desperate members of our team.”

The list targets eight people in total.

The magazine’s student contributors Daniel Ahn, Helen Mayer, and Sam Wohlforth, found messages they described as being “part of a misogynistic, racist, homophobic, and transphobic trend spanning verifiably from summer 2013 to summer 2015, and implicitly much further back in the team’s history.”

In a statement, Amherst President Biddy Martin announced announced that “all team activities have been suspended” while the college launches an investigation, and called the messages “appalling.”

“They are not only vulgar, they are cruel and hateful,” she wrote. “No attempt to rationalize them will change that. My reaction is one of profound sadness, disappointment, and anger.”

The school’s athletic director, Don Faulstick, wrote in a statement that the messages “have no place on our sports teams or anywhere at our College.”

The whole ordeal bears a striking resemblance to one that played out at Harvard earlier this year. The school cancelled the season for its men’s soccer team after the school paper, the Crimson, revealed the tradition of publishing a so-called “scouting report,” in which teammates ranked female athletes and mused about what sex positions they might like. Not long after, revelations emerged about a sexually explicit spreadsheet that members of the Harvard mens’ cross country team created before a school dance.


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com