Columbia Wrestlers Benched Over Racist Texts

They include use of n-word, homophobic slurs
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2016 6:51 AM CST
Columbia Wrestlers Benched Over Racist Texts
Illinois' Isaiah Martinez, left, takes down Columbia's Markus Scheidel in a match during the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in March.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

(Newser) – Columbia University is investigating racist and homophobic group text messages reportedly sent by members of its men's wrestling team just days after similar incidents at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. According to student-run news site Bwog, which received screenshots of GroupMe messages sent over the past three years, "the men in the group message mock women's appearances, make jokes about rape, use homophobic and racist slurs, and engage in other distasteful interactions." Columbia says it has "zero tolerance" for such "appalling" texts, which sparked protests outside the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity, home to several Columbia wrestlers, over the weekend, reports the New York Times.

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After the wrestling team was forced to withdraw from what was to be its first meet on Sunday, per Reuters, the university "has decided that Columbia wrestlers will not compete until we have a full understanding of the facts on which to base the official response to this disturbing matter." The team continues to practice, however. It isn't clear when an investigation could wrap up. Meanwhile, a Change.org petition calling for wrestlers to be expelled has 900-plus signatures as of this writing. The team's "use of appallingly violent anti-Black slurs, their blatant anti-Semitism, and their homophobia … celebrates the danger that some of Columbia's most vulnerable students are put in on and off campus," it reads. "This is unacceptable." (Read more Columbia University stories.)

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