KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Washington University in St. Louis lifted its suspension of the men’s soccer team Monday after an internal investigation found that the squad didn’t violate the school’s sexual harassment policy.
The men’s team was suspended in December for what the private university called complaints of ”degrading and sexually explicit” comments and other inappropriate behavior toward the women’s team. Details have not been disclosed.
But Lori White, the school’s vice chancellor for student affairs announced Monday that a review by the university’s Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards determined that not all the men took part in the questioned activities. White added that some members ”made genuine efforts to discourage this kind of behavior.”
”Both of these factors were considered in determining the most appropriate disciplinary response” in lifting the suspension, White said in a statement. ”The issues raised in the complaint are very serious, and it took courage for the women’s team to come forward. There is a long history of comradery between the men’s and women’s soccer teams. Going forward, we will be working with both teams to help rebuild a relationship that is based on mutual respect.”
The men’s team, which must apologize in writing to the women’s team, is on probation until all its players have completed mandatory educational training, White said. The men’s soccer schedule this fall won’t be affected if such requirements are met, White said.
A message left Monday by The Associated Press with the women’s team’s coach, Jim Conlon, was not immediately returned.
Three men’s teams in the Ivy League have been involved in suspensions for similar behavior since November: Harvard University men’s soccer, some members of Columbia University’s wrestling team and Princeton University’s men’s swimming and diving team.
White credited the women’s team for raising ”broader concerns about gender-related issues on our campus,” and said the university will address those concerns.
”There always is more we can – and should – do to deepen awareness and sensitivity,” White wrote.
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