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: