Princeton University has announced the cancellation of the remainder of its 2016-2017 men’s swimming and diving season. That means the Tigers won’t swim in their final two regular season meets (versus Navy on January 7 and versus Harvard and Yale on February 5), nor at the Ivy League or NCAA Championships.
The decision, announced by Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan, was the result of a “vulgar and offensive” email chain on the team’s official university-sponsored listserv.
Princeton announced a week ago that they would suspend their season while further action was being considered. Since that announcement, more information has come out about the nature of the offending emails, which included crude comments about the Princeton women’s swim team and their incoming recruits. The emails were described as “misogynistic and racist in nature” in the Princeton release.
“We make clear to all of our student-athletes that they represent Princeton University at all times, on and off the playing surface and in and out of season, and we expect appropriate, respectful conduct from them at all times,” Samaan said. “The behavior that we have learned about is simply unacceptable. It is antithetical to the values of our athletic program and of the University, and will not be tolerated.
“After reviewing the situation with Coach Orr, we have decided to suspend the season, and all associated team activities, effective immediately,” Samaan added. “In the coming days we will make a determination about the status of the team’s remaining schedule and we also will work collaboratively to determine additional actions aimed at education and positive culture building for the team.”
The entire men’s team roster has been stripped from the official team website (live version here), as have all rosters back through the 2013-2014 season. Among the swimmers whose collegiate careers will be ended by the decision are seniors En-wei Hu-Van Wright, Julian Mackrel – seniors on the team who both earned Honorable Mention All-America honors as part of relays at last year’s NCAA Championships. Princeton placed 37th overall at that meet with 8 points.
The team was also due to defend two-consecutive Ivy League Championships.
“The athletics department and the University are committed to providing an inclusive environment free from harassment and intimidation and characterized by mutual respect and concern for the well-being of others,” Samaan said. “In recent years we have worked closely with Princeton’s SHARE office (Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising Resources and Education) to provide educational and training programs for our students and our staff.
“One program developed by SHARE in conjunction with my office is SCORRE (Strength in Coaching on Relationships, Respect and Equality),” she added. “This program uses the bond between coaches and players to foster interactive dialogue and develop skills that promote healthy interpersonal relationships. Its modules cover such topics as respect, integrity, language, consent, and bystander intervention. We have also developed a program that will be introduced next month that focuses on the responsible and productive use of social media. We will continue to focus on such programs as well as redouble our ongoing efforts to achieve our primary goal, which is education through athletics.”