GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The president of Guilford College issued an apology to Virginia State University after racial slurs were allegedly yelled at players during a women’s soccer game.
The statement was released by GC on Sept. 27 and references a Sept. 26 women’s soccer game between GC and VSU.
“During the game, the opposing team’s fans reportedly yelled the N-word and made monkey noises aimed at our student-athletes,” according to a statement released by VSU on Tuesday. “While there have been direct apologies to our administration, VSU says that our student-athletes also deserve a personal apology.”
The full GC statement is provided below:
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.
The full statement released by VSU is provided below:
Virginia State University has requested an apology and an investigation after the VSU women’s soccer team experienced racial slurs and inappropriate sounds during a match against Guilford College on September 26. During the game, the opposing team’s fans reportedly yelled the N-word and made monkey noises aimed at our student-athletes. While there have been direct apologies to our administration, VSU says that our student-athletes also deserve a personal apology.
The President of Guilford College, Dr. Kyle Farmbry, has apologized to VSU President Dr. Makola M. Abdullah. In a website statement, Dr. Farmbry said they have discussed this matter at length and will complete an investigation and take appropriate action relative to their code of conduct.
Peggy Davis, VSU Associate Vice President for Athletics, says she has also received a call of apology from the Guilford Athletic Director. However, VSU has made it clear to Guilford College officials that the university will not tolerate this behavior from their fans and would still like them and their fans to apologize directly to our student-athletes. “Our consistent goal has always been to provide a quality athletic experience for our student-athletes on and off campus, which does not include inappropriate, unacceptable, or racially insensitive comments by spectators, coaches, officials, or students.”
“Racist and abusive language has no place in college sports,” Says Dr. Abdullah. “Our student-athletes work very hard to represent our university, and we must work together to ensure everyone can enjoy a safe and inclusive environment.”