The University of the South athletic department has issued an apology for racial epithets that were directed at visiting men's lacrosse players from Emanuel College during a match Saturday.
The department "condemns the behavior of those who attended Saturday's men's lacrosse game against Emmanuel College and hurled racist epithets at opposing players," a statement read, according to The Chattanoogan. We have joined Vice-Chancellor Brigety and our lacrosse coaches and student-athletes in personally conveying our apologies to Emmanuel College and its student-athletes, staff, and coaches."
The private Episcopal liberal arts college located in Sewanee, Tenn., and thus commonly referred to as Sewanee, has asked the perpetrating students to identify themselves and has also established an anonymous reporting channel through its LiveSafe app.
Referees stopped the match and directed Sewanee fans to leave the event.
"We have reported this incident to the Southern Athletic Association; moreover, we will be conducting a comprehensive review of our game management protocols and will be implementing changes wherever necessary to prevent such incidents in the future," the athletic department statement read. "This behavior does not reflect the values of our University and our athletics department, and it will not be tolerated at Sewanee."
According to The Associated Press, the Emmanuel roster includes white, Black, Asian American, Native American and Latino players.
"So pronounced were the shouted slurs in the third quarter that the game officials on the field ordered that Sewanee fans be cleared before play could continue," wrote Sewanee president Reuben E. Brigety II, who's also the university's first Black vice chancellor.
The University of the South has ties to the Confederacy, slavery, Jim Crow measures on campus and other segregationist efforts, according to the research summary for a project launched by the university in 2017 to investigate its "historical entanglements with slavery," according to The Chattanooga Times Free Press, as reported by the AP.
Athletic Director Mark Webb is taking steps to make sure such an incident does not happen again, including changes in the positioning of staff and security so they can stay more attuned to fans' actions and act to stop bad behavior, Brigety said.
Webb also will be meeting with student and student-athlete groups, "to reassert the values of the University and convey the University's unequivocal commitment to treating everyone, including athletics competitors, respectfully," Brigety wrote.