Following public allegations made against the track and field program this week, Georgetown University released a statement detailing an ongoing investigation of inappropriate behavior Friday. The university expressed concern over the misconduct and said that steps will be taken to eliminate this sort of behavior.
“Although not every student-athlete engaged in misconduct, the reported behavior is deeply concerning, inconsistent with the values of the university and does not meet the expectations Georgetown has set for members of its community and for its student-athletes,” the statement said.
A blog post recently published by members of the program raises severe allegations including incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the men’s track and field locker room, including a series of “Hoya Snaxa Awards” that are given out to those who are most willing to perform any of a series of acts.
“The ceremony awards members of the men’s team who ‘have distinguished themselves’ over the course of the school year. Members are able to distinguish themselves by performing heinous acts that are sexually disturbing,” the post read.
According to the post, the men’s team sent a video trailer for the “awards” through the Georgetown University email system April 28. The video allegedly included footage of distance runners engaging in sexual activities with each other. In the statement, the university said that they had conducted interviews with those involved in the production of the video.
“The university takes seriously any reports of actions inconsistent with the values of integrity and respect and expects the highest standards of behavior and professionalism from all members of the university community. [The Georgetown University Office of Institutional Diversity Equity and Affirmative Action] will conclude that review in the coming weeks and the University will take appropriate action and make recommendations consistent with the findings of the investigation,” the university’s statement read.
Georgetown’s statement notes that this investigation is separate from a review that is investigating allegations of racial bias within the track program. Another blog post, written by rising junior runner Stefanie Kurgatt, addresses these issues and details a series of grievances against the program, including unfair treatment, racial discrimination and seemingly arbitrary discipline. Kurgatt could not be reached for further comment.
The post questions the ethics of the track and field coaching staff, whom Kurgatt accuses of conspiring to force her off the team by refusing to coach her, citing an irreparable coach-athlete relationship. In addition, Kurgatt states that multiple athletes within the program have been arrested recently, only to be restored to the team’s roster with minimal consequences.
Kurgatt also stated that the coaching staff forced her to run even when she was injured or when it interfered with her class schedule, and accused the coaches of bias against sprinters. Nine Georgetown runners earned All-American honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association this year, each of them earning the distinction in an event of 800-meters or longer. Between the men’s and women’s teams, the 57-athlete program has 10 sprinters — with some designated as jumpers, as well.
“[The program’s lack of a full-size track and emphasis on distance running] must mean that the sprinters get their gear last and less of everything. This means that their shoes do not come in on time, and they get used shoes. This means that they are not included in all the team emails,” Kurgatt wrote. “This means that it is okay to tell a black male athlete, ‘You’re black, don’t be a pussy!’ This means that it’s okay for teammates to be left behind on warm-ups, and to be asked if you speak ebonics by your fellow teammates at dinner. This means that you’re not to be invited to all the team events.”
Both blog posts note the extended processes of these investigations, which have each been ongoing for several months. According to the blog post, the first complaint of a hostile environment was filed on February 25. The university did not indicate a concluding date for the investigation at this time.
Editor’s note: The link to the first blog post mention has been removed, as its authorship is currently unverified. A line has been inserted indicating attempts to reach Kurgatt.