Two dozen women runners spoke out about a toxic culture at our college going back eight years. No one heard us until we heard each other
Last week, 24 former members of the women’s cross country team at Connecticut’s Wesleyan University, myself among them, published testimonials detailing their toxic experiences as competitive college runners. Leading the effort was Yuki Christina Hebner, a 2017 graduate who wrote an open letter about the destructive culture pervasive across athletics, bought into by the coach and abetted by a blind administration, of disordered eating, body shaming, injury and high rates of attrition.
With the signatures of 36 alumni in all, we have presented a list of demands to the university. Saliently, they do not include removal of the coach. Rather, they require that this or any coach’s capacity for direct or collateral damage be checked by oversight, education and collaboration.