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Columbia Suspends Vulgar-Texting Wrestlers for Year

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The New York Post

 

Columbia's athletics department has decided to suspend members of the wrestling team who were responsible for sexually and racially offensive text messages from competition for the rest of the season and the 2016-17 academic year, according to a statement released Friday.

"It has now been determined that the deeply offensive group messaging and texts were written, sent and viewed by a distinct group within the wrestling team," the school said in a statement, a week after the texts became public. "While all team members feel a sense of collective responsibility and regret for what was said and done by some, the investigation found that the individual student-athletes who participated in the group chat acted on their own."

Doling out punishment based on the student-athletes' level of involvement, the school has suspended other members of the team until the beginning of the 2017 semester, while clearing those not involved in the incident to compete this weekend at the New York State Championships in Ithaca, N.Y.

"We recognize that free speech is a core value both of the University community and of our nation," the statement read. "Our students and faculty have the right to express themselves and their views, whether through their public or private communications. However, the group text messages that have been brought to light do not meet the standard of behavior we expect from our student-athletes at Columbia."

The announcement comes one week after Bwog, a student-run news site, exposed the vulgar GroupMe chat, in which members of the Class of 2017 call Columbia female students "ugly socially awkward c--ts" and insult African-Americans, whom they call the N-word throughout, for the protests that broke out in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 over the death of Michael Brown. The messages, which span from 2014 until a few weeks ago, include numerous photos of female students attached to vulgar commentary.

On Monday, the university announced it was suspending the wrestling season.

Members of the wrestling team released an apology letter Thursday.

hwithiam@nypost.com

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November 20, 2016
 
 
 

 

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