Columbia Suspended Wrestling Program Over Racist, Sexist Text Messages

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 01:  People walk past the Alma Mater statue on the Columbia University campus on July 1, 2013 in New York City. An interest rate hike kicks in today for student loans, an increase for 7 million students. Congress left town at the end of last week failing to prevent rates on new Stafford student loans increasing from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Columbia Suspended Wrestling Program Over Racist, Sexist Text Messages

College Athletics

Columbia Suspended Wrestling Program Over Racist, Sexist Text Messages

Columbia University has suspended its wrestling program, while it investigates  GroupMe messages posted on the independent student news site BWOG. The posted messages show derogatory racial, sexist, and homophobic commentary, including the explicit use of the “n-word.”

The decision comes after Harvard canceled the rest of its men’s soccer season after the discovery the team had produced sexual “scouting reports” of the women’s soccer recruits.

Harvard’s decision was a bit more clear-cut. Individual students were crudely victimized. The document was available on a public, searchable database. It’s incumbent on the university to take action.

Columbia’s decision is more complex. The text messages are objectionable. They don’t meet any reasonable standard of propriety. One cannot condone them. But, these were also private messages, by private individuals, not intended for public consumption and not available until screengrabbed. Should private discourse be held to the same standards as public discourse?

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