The wrestling team at Columbia University calls itself the oldest intercollegiate program in the nation. However, the program was suspended by university officials, while an investigation is carried out over text messages team members sent that included usage of misogynistic, homophobic and racist terms.
On Monday, the university released an official statement that said the athletic department decided that wrestlers at Columbia would not be competing until a complete understanding of all the facts was reached on the disturbing matter.
An official from the university confirmed Monday night that the wrestling team is practicing, which means there was still a possibility the season would continue upon the completion of the investigation.
Columbia has withdrawn from its Sunday scheduled match at Binghamton following the announcement it would have a zero tolerance in all athletic programs involving messages. Messages were described by university officials as appalling.
The next meet for the team is the following Sunday’s New York State championships held at Cornell, but the announcement on Monday made it unlikely the team would participate.
The texts were published by Bwog, a student-run, independent website at Columbia. The lewd texts had been sent over the past three years by members of the wrestling team through GroupMe, a messaging app, reported Bwog.
The revelations of the texts at Columbia come one week after the men’s soccer team at Harvard had its season cancelled after the student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, reported players on the team made sexually explicit scouting reports regarding the members of the women’s soccer team at Harvard.
At Columbia, the center of a countrywide discussion on the way colleges are handling sexually aggressive behavior, certain students have wanted the school to take similar stances if the accusations with regard to the wrestling team can be substantiated.
Students protested both Friday as well as Saturday outside the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity house, which has wrestlers amongst its membership.
A petition on Change.org calling for wrestlers to be expelled had 875 signatures as of Monday evening.
Fliers were planned to be handed out across campus both Monday and Tuesday to protest the culture of the men’s athletic teams at Columbia.
Rachel Deal, the editor in chief at Bwog and a junior at the university, said some athletes at the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity who were not members of the wrestling team were visibly upset with the team’s comments and personally hurt by language that had been used.