Harvard officials and students are condemning sexist behavior after a report that the men’s soccer team in 2012 had compiled a sexually explicit scouting guide that assigned “ratings” to recruits of the women’s soccer team.
Rakesh Khurana, dean of Harvard College, said the actions detailed in the report, published Monday by the Harvard Crimson, run counter to the values of Harvard.
“As a human being, and a member of the Harvard College community, I am always profoundly disturbed and upset by allegations of sexism, because I feel it is wrong and antithetical to this institution’s fundamental values,” Khurana said in the statement. “No one should be objectified.”
Khurana was not dean at the time the scouting guide was circulated. Rachael Dane, a spokeswoman for the college, said officials were not aware of the nine-page document at the time.
It is unclear whether similar documents have been created since 2012 or if any from previous years have been found.
The report was circulated July 31, 2012, through a group e-mail server that was publicly available and searchable on Google Groups, until recently, the Crimson reported.
In the report, the young women were given numerical assessments and paragraph-long descriptions regarding their appearance and assumed sexual behavior. The document also included photographs, most of which appeared to be taken from the women’s social media profiles.
Robert Scalise, athletic director at Harvard, said he encouraged anyone with information about “disparaging acts or remarks” to speak to authorities as early as possible so school officials can take appropriate action.
“We expect all members of our teams to act like members of the Harvard community, and we hold them to the same standards as everyone else,” he said in a statement. “Treating others with respect is one of the core values of the college.”
William Greenlaw, a Harvard senior who has been working with student groups to educate members on sexual assault prevention, said he would not have expected this kind of language or behavior from students at his college.
“I thought that in many ways, we’d be better than this, but it’s clear that the kind of cultural norm that society has inculcated into us is really hard to break, even in students that are at a really high-level university,” Greenlaw said.
He said with sexual assault prevention training, he hopes to see a decrease in sexually inappropriate behavior on campus.
“There’s an ever-present need to try to change the culture,” he said. “People say that words don’t matter and that this is just ‘locker room talk,’ but I think words do matter a lot. Words embody what you value, and in many ways, words embody what you don’t value.”
Felicia Gans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.