Arcadia Athletics and Recreation’s Commitment to Action

By Caitlin T. Burns | June 15, 2020
Dear Arcadia Community, 

I want to thank community members who have expressed concern and their desire for the Department of Athletics and Recreation to live up to the values of Arcadia University. The Department reaffirms our commitment to take action against systemic anti-Black racism and to improve the lives of our Black students on campus, as articulated in our statement on June 5. We echo President Nair’s call for long-overdue radical change at Arcadia, and that the time is now. 

I, as Director of this department, and with the support of coaches and staff from Baseball, Lacrosse, Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track and Field, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Volleyball, Golf, and Esports, immediately commit to the following as an Athletics Department: 

  • Advancing a University reporting initiative for allegations of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct, in conjunction with other offices.
  • Prioritizing and investing in training and education for staff, coaches, and student-athletes regarding sexual harassment, sexual assault prevention, gender violence, implicit bias, microaggressions, and systemic racism.
  • Hiring a Coordinator of Student-Athlete Success and Leadership in summer 2021. A recent NCAA Division III Ethnic Minorities and Women’s Internship Grant awarded to Athletics for next year will advance departmental efforts around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion while focusing on developing leadership skills in our diverse population of student-athletes. 
  • Maximizing the usage of existing and emerging NCAA diversity and inclusion resources, including the Division III LGBTQ OneTeam Program that focuses on best practices in creating an athletics climate built on respect and inclusion around sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expressions. 
  • Fortifying our partnership with the Arcadia’s Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Education to offer a bystander intervention workshop series for all teams that focuses on identifying realistic pro-social behaviors, becoming more confident intervening as a bystander, and identifying warning signs of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking behaviors.
  • Creating a working group within our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee that focuses on diversity and inclusion efforts and offers recommendations to positively shape the experiences of our student-athletes and university community.
  • Reimagining the existing framework of our community service efforts to focus on making meaningful contributions and connections with underserved communities in Glenside and surrounding areas.
  • Creating advisory committees for Black student-athletes and athletic alumni to deepen our understanding of their experiences and identify additional action steps to promote an inclusive and supportive community.
  • Making intentional efforts to create partnerships with student organizations and leaders across campus to more fully immerse student-athletes and promote honest dialogue about Athletics within the backdrop of the greater Arcadia community.  
  • Enhancing efforts to hire a diverse staff of athletics administrators and coaches.
  • Working with University officials to examine the recruitment of student-athletes from diverse populations.

Specifically, I’d like to acknowledge a serious incident that occurred in 2016, especially since it continues to cause pain in our community. The baseball team that spring had several members found to be in violation of Arcadia’s anti-hazing policy, civility expectations, and code of conduct for student-athletes. Following the completion of the investigation, the disciplinary and corrective actions included a conduct hearing for each team member, resulting in individual punishments that ranged from banning from campus for one year to warnings with various educational sanctions; a coaching replacement; cancellation of games; player suspensions; a ban on the postseason play; a team-wide educational intervention on civility, specifically regarding race and gender relations; and additional anti-hazing education for the team. This sort of incident is part of a larger systemic issue that Athletics must confront and continue to work against.

We owe it to our teams, athletic groups, and the entire University community to advance sexual violence prevention and address the racism that plagues the system. In response to those students who have expressed frustrations with reporting and ethical behavior outside of a specific office, here is the link to the phone number and website to file a Whistleblower report. Reporting actions help us be better informed to effect change. 

We are committed to accountability and will hold all members of the department up to our codes of conduct, policies, and expectations. We continue to strive for meaningful ways to engage student-athletes in personal conduct and leadership development, and to be contributing members of the Arcadia community. 

Brian Granata
Executive Director, Athletics and Recreation