Haverford College has rescinded its offer of admission to an incoming first-year student (Class of 2024) who posted bigoted content on social media.
“We had been alerted to these racist and homophobic materials previously,” wrote Jess Lord, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, in an email. “They are abhorrent and antithetical to our values, and when we learned about them we immediately began an investigation.”
The posts publicly came to light after an anonymous complaint was shared on the recently-created Instagram account “Black at Haverford.”
“There is an incoming lacrosse commit who posted racist and homophobic slurs including the n-word and f****t on his social media […] Haverford doesn’t care about Black or underrepresented lives on campus and only cares about rich, white people…”
The post also claimed that the student was associated with an Instagram account that contained racist and highly offensive posts—linked to graduates of Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, California, after an investigation by officials at that school. An online petition asking Saint Francis to discipline those responsible was subsequently shared widely across Haverford students’ social media.
The student had been slated to be a member of the varsity men’s lacrosse team. In a statement published on Twitter, the team both endorsed the college’s decision and noted that they had already decided to remove the student from the team.
“We understand and share the frustration and anger felt by the greater college community in response to [the student’s] posts,” added the team. “We reaffirm our commitment to learning and relearning how to better lead actively anti-racist lives.”
The rescission comes on the heels of several demands by students of color for changes at Haverford, both within the athletic department and at the college more broadly. Last month, the newly-formed Haverford Athletes of Color Coalition (AOCC) sent a letter to Athletic Director Wendy Smith, criticizing her remarks on the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
“Your inability to issue a timely and appropriate statement, even after consulting with some of your colleagues, is a mere symptom of the sustained disregard for POC athletes, and especially Black athletes,” declared the Coalition. They also called for policy changes within the department, including policies to recruit more student-athletes and athletic staff of color, as well as revising the process for selecting members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Smith subsequently apologized in a statement posted to the Haverford College Athletics Instagram account.
In response to the discovery of the student’s offensive posts, the AOCC condemned the behavior and criticized Haverford’s administration for failing to speak out publicly. On their Instagram page, they also noted that they “are in conversation with the Varsity Men’s Lacrosse team regarding how they can become more accountable and promote healing among current students and the alumni community.”
Conversations around athletics have only encompassed a small portion of the recent wave of student activism over the college’s racist history and current practices. In June, a group of twelve Black students published an open letter to the Bi-Co community, outlining grievances and listing fourteen demands for presidents Wendy Raymond and Kim Cassidy. Since its publication, the open letter has attracted over 2,500 signatures from the Bi-Co community, including current students, staff, and alumni.
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