Bwog recently received screenshots of a Class of 2017 Wrestling Team GroupMe. The screenshots, which contain messages spanning from 2014 to a few days ago, are troubling—the men in the group message mock women’s appearances, make jokes about rape, use homophobic and racist slurs, and engage in other distasteful interactions. After requesting a statement from the University, we have learned that an investigation has since been launched, and that the Wrestling team will no longer be competing at their meet this weekend.
The messages show a lack of respect for women—even those with whom they interact regularly. In the screenshots we received, the wrestlers sent each other numerous photos of female Columbia students and mocked their appearances. One of the men said a female student looked like “a dude in a wig.” Another woman was referred to as “fish pussy.” The wrestlers in the GroupMe also mocked female students as a whole. In one message, a wrestler refers to female Columbia students as “ugly socially awkward cunts” who feel “entitled.” Just messages before, another member of the team expressed frustration over how their team would “run the town of any state school” where “every girl begs for the cock so hard.” It appears these team members don’t realize the irony in referring to women as “entitled” for wanting to control their own bodies.
Among the misogynistic messages is a shocking proliferation of racism and racist comments. Their comments about black women come across as especially distasteful and cruel. The wrestlers’ usage of the n-word is flippant, too, and they use it to refer to women with whom they’ve hooked up, workers at businesses around Columbia, and protesters in Ferguson, MO.
Athletics receives a large allotment of the university’s financial and personnel resources. As such, Athletics and the people under it represent the interests of the university perhaps better than even whole academic departments. On Giving Day, for example, Athletics received $2,651,323 in donations—the second largest amount received by any part of the school. These resources should not be used to support a team whose members participate in a culture of bigotry. Though we don’t know if similar sentiments are expressed by younger members of the Wrestling team, we find it particularly troubling that these sorts of attitudes and beliefs are being espoused (and have been since 2014) by the team’s current seniors, team members who are nominally our athletic leaders.
We chose to post the screenshots without names because we believe the messages that were sent are part of a greater issue. Just this past week, Harvard canceled their Men’s Soccer team’s season after it came to light that they consistently produced “reports” degrading the Women’s Soccer team. Our intention is not to defame any individuals, but to bring up a larger question of how this sort of culture has continued for so long among students who are supposed to represent the University. It is clear that this sort of “locker room banter” should not be blindly accepted at an institution of higher learning.
The University released a statement to us regarding the screenshots after we informed them of the situation. You can read the full statement from the University below:
Columbia University has zero tolerance in its athletics programs for the group messaging and texts sent by several members of the men’s varsity wrestling team. They are appalling, at odds with the core values of the University, violate team guidelines, and have no place in our community.
Upon learning yesterday of these messages, Columbia’s Department of Athletics and our office of Student Conduct and Community Standards initiated an investigation. The Department of Athletics has decided that, as the investigation proceeds, Columbia wrestlers will not compete in Binghamton University’s open meet this weekend.
You can see the screenshots from the GroupMe below: