To the Daily:

Larry Havilla’s viewpoint highlights sexist and homophobic harassment that I have tried to address for years (Keep homophobia out of ‘U’ sports, 11/02/2009).

A few years ago, when I was interviewing University athletes about team harassment based on sexual orientation, the captain of a men’s varsity team told me that each practice was filled with slurs such as “homos”, “faggots” and “queers”.

When a team member left the team without giving a reason for his departure, the other members guessed that he was living in the closet and could not endure the harassing comments he heard daily.

A couple of years ago, during the question-and-answer period at a public panel on whether student athletes should be role models of ethical behavior, I suggested that the administrators, coaches and trainers of the Athletic Department and Department of Recreational Sports ought to serve as role models and condemn the homophobic conduct of athletes at workouts and similar conduct of spectators at athletic events. Athletes should also be requested to engage in workshops on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

While racist chants would not be allowed, Andy Reid’s SportsMonday column (I shouldn’t have been kicked out of Yost Ice Arena this weekend, 11/09/2009) and Nord Christensen’s letter to the editor (Author led ‘C-Ya’ chant, 11/10/2009) make it clear that sexist and homophobic chants are permitted if not encouraged at hockey games at Yost.

I welcome Andy Reid’s suggestions to the Athletic Department re-diminishing, if not halting, these chants.

I hope the new athletic director will assertively address this concern.

Jim Toy
Co-Founder, Spectrum Center

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