Harvard University nixed the remainder of its men's soccer season Thursday after it was revealed that members ranked recruits on the women's team by their sexual appeal — and officials say the procedure was not limited to a single season.
Reported last month by the Harvard Crimson, a nine-page document circulated over email as a "scouting report" in 2012 gave freshmen women numerical scores and included photos pulled from social media sites. The women were also assigned hypothetical sexual positions and nicknames.
The lewd document appeared to be a tradition, as it referred to a report from 2011. And according to President Drew Faust, that tradition has continued.
U.S. & World
The day's top national and international news.
"I was deeply distressed to learn that the appalling actions of the 2012 men's soccer team were not isolated to one year or the actions of a few individuals, but appear to have been more wide-spread across the team and have continued beyond 2012, including in the current season," Faust said in a statement Thursday. "Given this information, I fully support the clear and unequivocal decision made by the Director of Athletics today to cancel the remainder of the team's season, including post-season play."
"I was saddened and disappointed to learn that the extremely offensive 'scouting report' produced by the 2012 men's soccer team continued through the current season,'" Dean Rakesh Khurana added Thursday. "As I have stated, such behavior is antithetical to Harvard's fundamental values. It is clear that as individuals, as members of groups, and as a community, we need to do more to ensure that relationships on this campus are built on respect and dignity in all contexts. We cannot be a great college unless we are a good community."
School officials spoke out against the document in October when details were learned.
"Harvard University Athletics has zero tolerance for behavior of this kind and is deeply upset by these offensive and derogatory remarks," athletic director Robert L. Scalise said in a statement obtained by necn. "Harvard College students, including members of our athletic teams, are required to uphold the values of this community, which are rooted in the respect and dignity for all members of our community. University Athletics continues to reinforce with our student-athletes appropriate and respectful social behavior and team conduct."
After the report came to light, a member of the 2012 women's soccer team, who wanted to remain anonymous, called the scouting report "absolutely disgusting" in an email to necn. She said she was "deeply hurt, and beyond frustrated" that women are treated this way, not only at Harvard but at other school campuses and around the world.
She added that the Crimson article read like a "tabloid" report at her own expense, and that of the Harvard soccer teams and athletic programs.
Pieter Lehrer, the men's soccer coach, added that he was "shocked and disgusted" by the report. He was not the coach in 2012.
Several members of the 2012 men's soccer team declined comment when reached by the Crimson.
The school's women's soccer coach, Christopher P. Hamblin, said in a statement to the Crimson that he was "saddened to see this level of disrespect shown to these women." He referenced a "huge shift" in the culture of the men's soccer program" since Lehrer's hiring in 2013.
Rachael Dane, Spokesperson for Harvard University, released a statement Wednesday evening saying, "The offensive and derogatory remarks reported by the Crimson have no place at Harvard. This kind of behavior is completely at odds with the educational environment we seek to foster and with our central value of treating one another with dignity and respect — in our residences, in classrooms, on the athletic fields, and in our social experiences. Now that we have been made aware of this document and its contents, the University is working to assess the circumstances surrounding it.”