Guilford students, faculty, and staff,
I am writing in response to a very concerning situation at our women’s soccer game with Virginia State University on campus last night. Spectators associated with Guilford College directed very disrespectful comments toward the visiting players, tarnishing the experience of those who attended, especially our guests.
According to the information that I have already gathered, loud outbursts from a group of spectators included profanity and derogatory remarks toward the Virginia State team. It was in very poor taste and was very poor sportsmanship by anyone’s definition.
Virginia State parents and other fans observed the behavior and have reached out to me about it. They have also shared on social media their disappointment with Guilford, given its stated commitments to diversity, equity and sportsmanship.
This morning I spoke by phone with Virginia State President Makola M. Abdullah to express apologies for the behavior of our fans and to let him know that we are conducting an investigation into the situation, which we take very seriously.
Cabinet discussed this matter at length today. I have asked Athletic Director Bill Foti and Dean of Students Steve Mencarini to complete the investigation and provide me with the facts. If you attended the game and have information that would help Bill and Steve, please contact them. Following the investigation we will take appropriate action relative to our code of conduct.
Intercollegiate athletics play an important role at a college. Besides offering leadership and team-building opportunities for students, sports can be a positive rallying point for the campus overall. That is our goal at Guilford.
Meanwhile, as President, I want to make it clear that behavior of the type displayed by our spectators last night is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We expect and will enforce standards of sportsmanship in the stands and on the field or court.
Please join me in enthusiastically supporting our own teams and being respectful of those against whom we compete.