Remington Free/Senior Graphics Editor
In a letter submitted to Bwog late Thursday evening, the Columbia Wrestling Team has written an apology in response to the discovery of messages from the 2017 team member’s GroupMe that contained explicit, degrading content targeting various groups of people.
The full message can be found below:
To the Columbia community:
All of us apologize, without reservation or condition, to all members of the Columbia community for the creation and dissemination of the inappropriate, vulgar and hurtful text messages which have affected so many members of our community and the overall University. In particular, we apologize to our fellow students, the faculty members who teach us, and the campus administrators who work so hard on our behalf.
As a team, we want to make it clear to everyone that we understand the fact that these offensive text messages are inexcusable. These messages do not represent our core values as a program, our coaching staff or the athletics department. We sincerely apologize for the hurtful things that have been said, the damage done to relationships we hold dearly, and the harm this incident has done to Columbia University’s reputation and public image. We are truly very sorry.
We tremendously regret the harm that this has caused the Columbia athletics program; many members of the athletics family dedicate their time to make sure that all student-athletes represent the university in a positive light, and are active and productive members of the university community. We are sorry for betraying their trust and not being mindful of their strong example.
We also apologize to our alumni and supporters, as we have let you down and have disrespected the entire collegiate wrestling community. We apologize to our coaches – for putting them in a difficult position and jeopardizing their professional careers and personal well-being, as these messages do not (and never has) represent them or their values whatsoever.
More importantly, we want all people who were insulted or felt threatened by the messages to know that we could not be more remorseful for the harm that this situation has caused. Our team aspires to be leaders on campus and in our community. We know that we must contribute to campus life in a way that makes everyone feel safe and celebrated regardless of our differences. We are disappointed in ourselves because members of our team stood by as bystanders as opposed to speaking out on behalf of those individuals and groups which were being talked about in such a negative and hostile manner. We will strive to do everything in our power to help everyone feel safe, accepted and valued as all members of the Columbia community should be.
We realize that what was done is extremely wrong. There is no excuse for this behavior. All of us have gained an entirely new perspective on how hurtful the comments made by members of our team truly are. These messages are not just words or playful jokes between teammates. This has been a wake-up call for our team. A culture change was obviously needed – and, rest assured, it will take place. We are prepared for any deserved repercussions from our actions.
Every member of this team has already learned – and will continue to learn – from this experience. We will do our best to contribute to pursuing social justice. We will continue to strive to represent our sport and school which we love with pride and integrity. We ask for your continued understanding, and pledge to be better contributors to the university community.
With respect and humility, we once again offer our sincerest apologies to all for our irresponsible behavior.
The members of the Columbia Wrestling team
The original letter can be found on Bwog’s website.