Harvard University’s legal office will review reports that the men’s cross-country team created online spreadsheets that demeaned female runners, officials said Tuesday.
The move, announced in an e-mail to Harvard student-athletes from athletic director Robert L. Scalise, came days after Scalise canceled the remainder of the men’s soccer season over similar conduct by that team’s players.
“Harvard Athletics will not tolerate this sort of demeaning and derogatory behavior,” Scalise wrote. “I have requested that Harvard University’s Office of the General Counsel look into the matter that the current men’s cross-country team captain brought to our attention in recent days.”
Scalise’s request was first reported by the Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper, which earlier broke the news of the soccer team scandal.
After the soccer season was canceled, senior cross-country captain Brandon Price told his coach, Jason S. Saretsky, that male runners had created some spreadsheets that included comments about the physical appearance of the members of the women’s team, the Crimson has reported.
Price e-mailed his teammates and urged them to “come clean with anything that we have typed out in the past . . . the problem with the men’s soccer team was they tried to hide their stuff,’ ” the Crimson reported.
Price declined to comment when reached by phone Tuesday.
Saretsky said in a statement released by Harvard that there “is no place for disrespecting and objectifying one’s peers in our program. To whatever extent it has happened, it must stop immediately. I’m committed to promoting a culture we can all be proud of.”
In his e-mail, Scalise wrote that administrators “take this behavior very seriously. I have met with all of our coaches recently to reinforce that any behavior that runs counter to the values of the Harvard community is unacceptable. Respect, dignity, and the highest standards of integrity are values we all must embrace and uphold.”
Scalise canceled the rest of the soccer team’s season after an internal probe revealed that a lewd online “scouting report” about female soccer players, created in 2012, continued through the current semester.
The scouting guide was circulated July 31, 2012, through an e-mail server that remained public on Google Groups until recently, the Crimson reported.
The freshmen players were ranked, given written and photographic descriptions of their appearance, and assigned assumed sexual behavior.
“As we move forward, we will work with other stakeholders in our community to fully understand the environment that permitted the unacceptable activities that have come to light,” Scalise wrote on Tuesday. “Part of this community-wide effort will be to continue to educate all of our student-athletes about the critical importance of mutual respect and appropriate social conduct.”