Kim apologizes to Faust following squash heckling incident
By Paulina Karpis And Greg Berger, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Web Update, last updated on Jan 13 | 4:41 pm
College President Jim Yong Kim offered an apology to Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust on Wednesday — the latest development following a College squash match against Harvard on Dec. 2 at which Dartmouth soccer players and other students made offensive comments to participating Crimson athletes.
Kim issued the apology to Faust in person while at the Ivy League presidents’ meeting in New York City, according to College spokesman Roland Adams.
Some students have disputed media reports of the incident, arguing that students’ comments have been sensationalized.
Still, in recent days, the incident has prompted an avalanche of apologies: Dan Keat ’10, captain of the Dartmouth men’s soccer team, issued an apology to the Dartmouth community late Monday evening and sent an additional apology to the Harvard squash team. Alpha Delta fraternity President David Shrubb '10 issued an apology on Wednesday on behalf of several members of his organization who were involved in the incident.
The soccer team has also sent an sent an open letter of apology to the Harvard squash team, according to Drew Galbraith, senior associate athletic director for compliance and administration at the College.
Kim, acting Dean of the College Sylvia Spears and interim Athletic Director Bob Ceplikas addressed the students’ behavior at the match in a campus-wide e-mail on Tuesday afternoon.
“We are very disappointed that any of our students would engage in behavior that is out of line with the values of this community,” Kim, Spears and Ceplikas said in the e-mail. “While we encourage students to vigorously support our athletes, we expect them to do so in a way that reflects our pride in those teams, not disrespect for others.”
At the Dec. 2 match, which was held at the Berry Sports Center, a group of 10 fans led by the soccer players cursed and heckled the Harvard athletes, the Valley News first reported on Saturday. Words such as “dick,” “fag” and “c*cksucker” were pelted at the visitors, according to the Valley News. Harvard female athletes supporting their peers were called “whores” and “sluts” by the Dartmouth fans, the Valley News reported.
During his match, Crimson captain Franklin Cohen was told he had small genitals and asked if he liked “bagels” — a term his mother told the Valley News she viewed as an insult related to the family’s Jewish last name. Bryan Giudicelli ’11 told the Valley News that the term “bagel” was a reference to zeros on the scoreboard.
Cohen’s mother, Susan, said in an interview with The Dartmouth on Wednesday that she was unaware of that meaning of the term “bagel” and found its use inappropriate.
“I do know that it was offensive,” Susan Cohen said.
Cohen said she felt other taunts said at the match were also anti-Semitic, alleging that she heard students yelling, “Cohen, do you cheat in business, Cohen?”
“I was bothered by that and I thought it was a little anti-Semitic,” Cohen said.
Cohen said she has received apologies from both Kim and Ceplikas.
“I appreciate the apology,” she said. “It’s a beginning.”
Michael Lewis ’11 eventually defeated Cohen, 3-1, en route to the Big Green’s 6-3 loss to Harvard.
Several Dartmouth students have contested the Valley News’ account of what happened at the match. In his Monday letter to the Dartmouth community, Keat apologized for the athletes’ behavior, but said that members of the team “take issue” with some aspects of the article.
“We are in the process of gathering as much information as we can about that evening, about what everybody heard and what they didn’t hear,” Galbraith said in an interview with The Dartmouth. “We want to come up with the most complete set of facts that we can. There were some things that went beyond the bounds of normal cheering and people have apologized for that.”
Galbraith, who watched parts of all three matches, said he did not witness the heckling. He learned of the spectator’s behavior when Valley News reporter Tris Wykes approached him about it after the game, he said.
“I spoke with the Harvard coach at that point just to gauge their feelings on everything,” Galbraith said. “He did not lead me to believe that there were any issues. Perhaps, he had things relayed to him afterwards.”
Galbraith was the only administrator who stayed for the length of the match. Other administrators departed after the introductions for a women’s soccer team banquet, Galbraith said.
“The crowds at squash matches are not as large or as vociferous [as are those at other sporting events],” Rick Bender, director of varsity athletics communication, said in an interview with The Dartmouth. “It was out of the ordinary on Wednesday.”
Over two times the number of students who usually attend squash matches were at the event on Dec. 2 because it was held on the last day of classes and because it was against rival Harvard, Galbraith said.
"It's usually a lot calmer than that, but it's just that it's a really intense rivalry between Dartmouth and Harvard, and it was supposed to be a really close match," Dartmouth squash player Chris Hanson ’13 said. "That's why a lot of people came out to support us."
There are more stringent security measures in place at ticketed sporting events, which draw large crowds. Safety & Security and the Hanover Police are present during these games, according to Galbraith.
“We will make a determination whether and what needs to change at future squash matches,” Galbraith said.
Harvard squash players contacted by The Dartmouth declined to comment, saying they have been instructed not to speak with the press about the incident. Dartmouth soccer players reached by The Dartmouth also declined to comment.
In addition, Harvard assistant director of athletic communications Tim Williamson declined to comment.