Team activities suspended over racist, sexist messages

AMHERST, Mass. -- Amherst College has suspended all team activities for men's cross country after a number of messages came to light that administrators called racist, misogynistic and homophobic.

The messages surfaced in a story in a student publication, The Indicator, which reported on a series of emails and messages sent from 2013 to 2015. In some messages, female students' pictures are included with comments on their sexual histories. Some women are referred to as "meat slabs" or "walking STD."

Many of the messages were sent to incoming freshmen members of the cross-country team.

Administrators on Sunday said team members confirmed the messages, and an investigation is underway.

The team issued a statement to The Indicator saying it was ashamed of the emails and had hoped to regain the trust of those people it hurt.

"There are no words to justify what was said and we are all responsible for the harm inflicted by our team's comments," the apology said. "We are embarrassed and ashamed by what was said by some members of our team. We can never minimize the impact of these comments and sincerely apologize to the groups and individuals directly targeted."

Amherst president Biddy Martin called the messages appalling, vulgar and cruel.

Athletic director Don Faulstick said the behavior is disgusting and violates the school's zero-tolerance standard for bigotry.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.