The president of Amherst College is commending the men’s soccer team after one of its players penned an open letter in the Huffington Post, sharply critizing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comments about women and his excuse for those comments: “locker room talk.”
President Biddy Martin said the letter “exemplifies Amherst’s values in multiple ways.”
It was written by senior David Lander and published on Sunday.
“I commend David, his soccer teammates, and coaches for articulating their views so powerfully and for publishing them,” Martin wrote in a statement to alumni, parents, and friends.
Lander wrote in the letter that the team, coming off a Division III national championship, consists of 31 men from 13 different states, with various socioeconomic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.
He said the team talks about a number of things in its locker room, from difficult exams to buffalo chicken wraps, “and, of course, the girls in our lives.”
“But, despite our diverse backgrounds, upbringings and interests, we cannot imagine one of our 30 guys ever making or condoning, in our private locker room, comments similar to Donald Trump’s disgusting statements about sexually assaulting women,” Lander wrote.
“Our locker room also differs from Donald Trump’s locker room in another respect. It is just down the hall from the locker room of the Amherst women’s soccer team. We are good friends with these women; we practice every day on the same field; we watch their games, and they watch ours. We see each other as peers.”
Lander also called for broader change on college campuses, where he said one in 5 women experience sexual abuse.
“This needs to change,” he wrote.
One of the ways to do so, Lander said, was changing how women are talked about.
“We strive to not only keep this kind of offensive talk out of our locker rooms, we also try to actively prevent it elsewhere. We and the other teams at Amherst have made it a priority to speak out and campaign against sexual violence.”
“If Donald Trump wants to know what actually is said in real locker rooms, he is welcome to visit ours to understand how real men speak about and treat women.”
On Oct. 8, the Washington Post published a story with videotape of a lewd conversation between Trump and the then-host of NBC’s “Access Hollywood,” Billy Bush.
The two men were on their way to the set of “Days of Our Lives” when Trump bragged about kissing and groping women, even without their permission, saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do it.”
Dylan McGuinness can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @DylMcGuinness.