Letter to the Editor: Outcome of Sept. 21 volleyball game investigation

Posted by thetuftsdaily on January 23, 2013 under Uncategorized | Comments are off for this article

The following is a letter to the editor from Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Students John Barker and Director of Athletics Bill Gehling.

To the Editor:

Last semester, we told you that an investigation was underway into the events that took place during a women’s volleyball team game between Tufts University and Smith College in September. This investigation was initiated as the result of a complaint brought by a Tufts student who attended the game and afterwards reported inappropriate audience behavior to the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Although the specifics of the report remain confidential, as is customary with such reports, we want to let the Tufts community know that the investigation is complete and involved a thorough analysis of the incident. Spectators, players, and coaches from both Tufts and Smith College were interviewed and all individuals were given an opportunity to provide information from their own perspective. The investigation concluded that unacceptable behavior did occur, and members of our men’s lacrosse team were responsible for that behavior.

All members of the lacrosse team who were in attendance at the game will be benched for two games during the upcoming season. While we do not seek to penalize team members who were not involved in the incident, it is the nature of team play that sometimes one’s fortunes are told by the behavior of others. Personal apologies by Tufts administrative leaders have been offered to the Smith administration, and members of the men’s lacrosse team who were in attendance at the game are also being asked to write letters of apology to both the Tufts and Smith coaches and their teams. In addition, any individual student who is found to have violated the Tufts Student Code of Conduct will face the judicial processes of the Office of Student Affairs.

We want to stress that the behavior documented in the OEO investigation would be unthinkable in a classroom or residence hall, and it is equally unacceptable at a sporting event. There is no scenario within collegiate team sports that would support the use of race or gender as the basis for jeering, heckling, or taunting members of a team.

While we encourage you to come out and support our athletic teams, it is important to do so in a respectful and positive manner.


John Barker, Dean
Undergraduate and Graduate Students
Schools of Arts and Sciences and of Engineering

Bill Gehling
Director of Athletics
Schools of Arts and Sciences and of Engineering

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