Category Archives: Athletics

Women’s Cross Country Alumnae Speak Out on Culture of Disordered Eating, Injuries

This series was produced by sdz with the help of  fern,  melimaury,  gabs,  and  hen.
The 25 testimonials can be read here. The timeline of contact between the team and the Athletic Department can be found here.

 

The following is an open letter from Yuki Christina Hebner ‘17 to the Wesleyan community that speaks to a culture of body shaming, disordered eating, and high attrition rates on the Wesleyan women’s cross country team. Yuki tells her own story and introduces the stories of 25 other women’s cross country alumnae.

In the testimonials, Head Coach John Crooke is alleged to have pressured runners to lose significant amounts of weight with little guidance and no nutritional training, leading to multiple cases of disordered eating and injury. The effects of Coach Crooke’s directives, delivered in meetings which the team colloquially called “fat talks”, have been long-lasting; some of these alumnae are almost 7 years out of college and yet still struggle with disordered eating and injuries from their time on the team.

Yuki’s letter is followed by a petition, signed by 36 alumni. Notably, the petition is not asking for the removal of Coach Crooke, but rather for the Department to advocate for its racing athletes by better understanding the risk factors associated with endurance sports and holding coaches to a higher standard of accountability, among other demands.

The issues presented in this series are two-fold. On one hand, it was Coach Crooke’s actions that so adversely affected each of these alumni. He forced runners to lose weight, played favorites, and fostered a dangerous culture of body shaming and disordered eating. But, Coaches come and go. The issues presented here will not be resolved simply by removing Coach Crooke, or by adding a few more assistant coaches. The systemic issues of body shaming and lack of accountability of coaches that face distance runners simply will not change from the efforts of one person, or scapegoating one person to protect an inadequate system. It will take a cocktail of reforms, as laid out in the petition below, to bring about any sort of meaningful change.

This is not the first time that these athletes have tried to voice their stories. They wrote about their experiences in coaching evaluations, spoke about them in meetings with their coaches, and even brought them to the attention of the athletic directors. And yet, their concerns were never taken seriously. The timeline indicates clearly that the Department had been made aware of the cross country team’s concerns since at least 2013, and yet there is reason to suspect that things have not yet changed as much as they should have. If this were not true, these alumnae would not be speaking up today. (A statement from the Athletic Department follows the petition.)

It took a great deal of courage for each of the alumnae to speak out about her experience on the team. As a community, it is our responsibility to listen now, because it doesn’t seem like anyone was listening then.

Read Yuki’s letter after the jump, and then be sure to read the testimonials. The story is incomplete without them.

Part 2: 25 Testimonials from Women’s Cross Country Alumnae

Yuki’s letter and the petition can be read here. The timeline of contact between the team and the Athletic Department can be found here.

 

In Part 2 of this series, we are presenting 25 testimonials from 25 women who participated on the women’s cross country and track and field teams during their time at Wesleyan. Each story was written and prepared by each alumna herself, and reveals a pattern of mistreatment that led to a cycle of disordered eating, malnutrition, fatigue, and injuries as a result.

While many of the alumnae touch on their personal experiences with Coach Crooke, his actions are only part of the focus here. The first goal of these testimonials is to shed light on the specific actions of Coach Crooke and the devastating effect that they had on the team culture. The second is to call upon the Athletic Department as an institution to step up and protect its athletes, the very people on whose efforts the Department thrives. The testimonials and timeline beg the following questions: Where was the Athletic Department each time a runner spoke up about the conditions of the team? How could runners expect the Athletic Department to act when it did not even really listen in the first place?

A few have asked to keep their name and/or class year anonymous, but that does not lessen the degree of legitimacy of their stories. There are many reasons why they may have chosen to remain anonymous, including, but not limited to, concerns about how the Department or Coach will respond to these stories coming to light. If anything, their decision not to identify themselves speaks even further to a culture of fear and intimidation within the team.

Read the testimonials after the jump:

Part 3: What the Athletic Department Knew and When

This is part 3 of our series on the women’s cross country team. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here.

Alongside the alumnae testimonials, we also wanted to provide a timeline that maps out the history of contact between the runners on the cross country team and the Athletic Department. A central theme of this series is to show that the Athletic Department was made aware of the issues of disordered eating and injuries that were perpetuated by Coach Crooke, and yet no changes were made to address the problems. This timeline, which was prepared by Rachel Unger ’15, is intended to shed some light on what exactly the Athletic Department knew and when. The timeline also speaks to the repeated efforts that were made by runners to push for change within the existing system as it stands.

If You Want Your Event Posted to Wesleying, Read This!

A lot of this is recycled text (thx wilk) from recycled text from two years ago (thx Maya) from recycled text from three years ago (thx Samira), but here are some tips and guidelines for submitting your events!

HEY WESLEYAN COMMUNITY!

Did you know that we post events? Wondering if you should submit your event? Well, you should! Wesleying gets anywhere from 500 to 1,200 views per day as of late. Submitting your event to be posted here is good for ~exposure~ and also a way to reach different audiences than those reached by Facebook’s weird algorithm.

We love posting your events, but we get a lot of them. If you want your meeting/audition/application deadline/concert/thing posted to Wesleying on time, please use this form here. This time of the year is especially busy which makes our inbox quickly burst at the seams, so it helps if you submit your event at least 4 or 5 days in advance.

Much of this is elaborated from our event submissions policy, but here are some things you can do to make life easier:

Unofficial Orientation Series 2018: Student Groups

This is a repost of wilk‘s update of michelle‘s update of Maya‘s 2015 post, which was an update of alt‘s 2014 post, which was an update of Q‘s 2013 post, which was an update of Syed‘s 2012 post

This is the annual student activities fair, where you can schmooze or, more likely, be schmoozed to your heart’s content.

This is part of our 2018 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.

By the time classes start (aka today, happy first day of classes!), you’ll likely be successfully moved into your dorm, blissfully free from your parents, and finally finding the time to figure your shit out. Soon, you’ll realize that you have a little too much time on your hands — and you might want to fill that time with Organized Social Activities.

Thankfully for you, there are about 300 student groups at Wesleyan, so you have many, many options. Joining student groups is one of the best way to meet people outside of your dorm and in different class years. You could find best friends! Mentors! Something new about yourself! It’s all up to you.

As your Orientation Leaders, advisers, and basically everyone else including me will tell you — stick to the Rule of Seven. Each class you take, group you join, job you have, and any other thing you might do counts as one commitment, and you should try to have only seven full-time commitments per semester. With a standard four-course load, that leaves three spots for you to fill with whatever the hell else you want. That’s what this post is for.

Unofficial Orientation Series 2018: Health Resources on Campus

This is a repost from 2017, although ~health things~ have remained (basically) the same. This is an updated version of a post originally written by Catherine MacLean ’14 which appeared on the Peer Advisor Blog and on Wesleying. It also includes a section on resources for survivors of sexual assault by Ryden Nelson ’16 and Chloe Murtagh ’15 and a section on the new support groups run by WeSupport by Veronica Harrington ’17.

HealthFitness

This is part of our 2018 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.

In your four years at Wes, you’ll probably need some kind of health support, whether physical, mental, or emotional, and luckily enough, there are quite a few options available. Here’s a crowdsourced rundown of many of the services available to help keep you healthy.

Unofficial Orientation Series 2018: Athletics/Athlete Life

This is sdz‘s update of wilk‘s short update of D‘s mostly repost of previous athletics unofficial orientation series posts.

 

This is part of our 2018 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.

Some of you frosh probably don’t know that WesTech competes in the prestigious NESCAC—the most competitive D3 conference in the country. Despite the throngs of news outlets that flock to many of our sports games, you will never have to enter a lottery system or wait in a line overnight to obtain tickets. We also aren’t like these fans, and we never will be. That’s okay. Do not believe the naysayers who claim that Wesleyan students do not support or appreciate athletics. Little known fact, Wesleyan Football holds a lifetime win record against Michigan. (never mind that our first and only meet was in 1883). I have personally witnessed Wes students get so fired up after a basketball loss to Trinity that we started a “safety school” chant. Not our best moment but definitely an example of caring!

Whether you’re attempting to relive your high school glory days, looking to get or stay fit (the freshman fifteen is real), or trying out a new sport, Wesleyan has what you are looking for!

Unofficial Orientation Series 2017: Athletics/Athlete Life

This is an update of my short update of D‘s mostly repost of previous athletics unofficial orientation series posts.

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This is part of our 2017 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.

Some of you frosh probably don’t know that WesTech competes in the prestigious NESCAC—the most competitive D3 conference in the country. Despite the throngs of news outlets that flock to many of our sports games, you will never have to enter a lottery system or wait in a line overnight to obtain tickets. We also aren’t like these fans, and we never will be. That’s okay. Do not believe the naysayers who claim that Wesleyan students do not support or appreciate athletics. I have personally witnessed Wes students get so fired up after a basketball loss to Trinity that we started a “safety school” chant. Not our best moment but definitely an example of caring!

Whether you’re attempting to relive your high school glory days, looking to get or stay fit (the freshman fifteen is real), or trying out a new sport, Wesleyan has what you are looking for!