VOL. 119, Issue 6 - Oct. 14, 2021

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EST. 1903<br />

04<br />


FOGPOD<br />

NEWS<br />

An inside look at the<br />

Sports Illustrated article.<br />



THURSDAY, OCT. <strong>14</strong> <strong>2021</strong> • <strong>VOL</strong>. <strong>119</strong>, ISSUE 06<br />


The University must<br />

Gleeson’s digital archive<br />

07 gains Black voices.<br />

publicly support<br />

10 12<br />

intersectional sexual assault<br />

survivors.<br />

Soccer world reels from<br />

years of unchecked abuse<br />

toward NWSL players.<br />


USF community gather to protest University’s<br />

handling of sexual assault and abuse<br />

Over 100 USF community members gathered at Gleeson Plaza to participate in the speakout event, organized by It’s On USFCA. PHOTO COURTESY OF @PHOTOGRAPHY_FROM_SOCKS ON<br />



Staff Writers<br />

Following the aftermath of accusations made in the Sept. 30<br />

Sports Illustrated (SI) article, the It’s On USFCA organization<br />

held a survivor speakout event <strong>Oct</strong>. 7 to “stand in solidarity with<br />

student survivors and demand the University administration to<br />

adequately address sexual violence on campus,” according to the<br />

event’s flyer.<br />

The event drew approximately 100 students to Gleeson Plaza,<br />

the majority of which were dressed in red and teal to display<br />

support as the flyer asked. The event included anonymous, written<br />

survivor stories with crowd chants, demands for the administration,<br />

and in-person accounts of sexual assault and abuse.<br />

One of the event’s organizers, senior politics major Gabriela<br />

Klemer De Lassé, said that Fitzgerald’s Sept. 30 response to the<br />


SI article “enflamed the community.” She added that their organization<br />

“thought it was necessary to respond as a community to<br />

let people know that a) action needs to be taken and b) that other<br />

survivors exist.”<br />

Senior politics major Natalya Bomani co-organized the event<br />

with De Lassé. “It was important to us to give survivors a voice,”<br />

she said. “They should be centered on this issue. We need to bring<br />

survivors into the space, to give them an opportunity to heal and<br />

bond together as a community.”<br />

While many campus community members were in attendance,<br />

an absence was felt strongly by attendees: USF President<br />

Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J. and members of his administration. However,<br />

Kellie Samson, head of media relations, clarified in an email to<br />

the Foghorn that “several members of the university’s Student Life<br />

staff and the Title IX office attended the Speak-out.”<br />

Sophomore communications major Mikayla Brown was one

02<br />


OCT. <strong>14</strong><br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />



Freedom and Fairness<br />


Editor in Chief<br />


editorinchief@sffoghorn.com<br />

Dear Editor,<br />

STAFF<br />


The San Francisco Foghorn is the<br />

official student newspaper of the<br />

University of San Francisco and is<br />

sponsored by the Associated Students<br />

of the University of San Francisco<br />

(ASUSF).<br />

The thoughts and opinions expressed<br />

herein are those of the individual writers<br />

and do not necessarily reflect those<br />

of the Foghorn staff, the administration,<br />

the faculty, staff or the students<br />

of the University of San Francisco.<br />

Contents of each issue are the sole<br />

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the views of the Foghorn staff or the<br />

University of San Francisco.<br />

In response to the September 16, <strong>2021</strong> article “Let the Bargaining Begin,” let me add<br />

some additional information on behalf of the University Budget Advisory Council (UBAC).<br />

UBAC did indeed make a number of recommendations to the President’s Cabinet concerning<br />

the balancing of the fiscal year 2022 operating budget. UBAC is advisory to the<br />

President’s Cabinet, which accepted some of those recommendations and did not accept<br />

others; this is normal.<br />

For example, the President’s Cabinet ultimately determined that it was not necessary<br />

to continue the salary reduction programs of fiscal year <strong>2021</strong> that helped the University<br />

balance its COVID-19 revision to that year’s operating budget.<br />

Note that at the time of submission of those recommendations, UBAC — and the President’s<br />

Cabinet, for that matter — did not know that the University and its students would<br />

be the beneficiaries of a third round of federal stimulus.<br />

Additionally, UBAC was careful to acknowledge in its recommendations to the President’s<br />

Cabinet that matters related to the compensation and working conditions of members<br />

of collective bargaining units are ultimately resolved through collective bargaining processes<br />

rather than by UBAC or any particular party at the bargaining table.<br />

I have partnered with other University administrators in the negotiation of approximately<br />

a dozen collective bargaining agreements over the past eight years. It has always been<br />

our desire to avoid negotiating — however indirectly —through the Foghorn. Attempts to<br />

do so by either party can lead to miscommunication and misleading oversimplification of<br />

complex proposals and conversations connected to budget, to compensation, and to enrollments.<br />

Sincerely,<br />

Jeff Hamrick<br />

Vice Provost for Institutional Budget, Planning, and Analytics<br />

Administration Tri-Chair, University Budget Advisory Council<br />

Note: This letter has been edited to conform to the Foghorn's publication style.


03<br />

At the event, a list of demands were presented to the University’s administration, including increased funding for Title IX office and other sexual violence<br />


of many students who noticed his absence. “As a<br />

rape survivor myself, I am appalled that the University<br />

showed no support at this event when students<br />

are being brave enough to be vulnerable in<br />

front of a community,” she said.<br />

There was a verbal consensus in the crowd that<br />

the University needs to “stop this lip service, they<br />

have to stop all these empty platitudes,” Bomani<br />

said. “It is a very performative administration. We<br />

have to go beyond words to help our communities.<br />

This is a crisis; they need to treat it like a crisis and<br />

listen to our demands.”<br />

When asked what is the administration’s response<br />

to their perceived lack of action. Samson<br />

wrote, “We have clearly heard from students and<br />

alumni about the hurt and mistrust they have experienced.<br />

We take these accounts very seriously --<br />

and investigate and act on all reports.”<br />

The demands of It’s On USFCA were released<br />

on social media and reiterated throughout<br />

the event. The group’s demands include: an apology<br />

from Fitzgerald for the University’s failures in<br />

addressing sexual violence, survivor-centered Title<br />

IX policies, the creation of a student survivor task<br />

force, required training for all community members<br />

quarterly, and increased funding for sexual violence<br />

prevention programming.<br />

This action plan for the administration was a<br />

“community effort,” according to Bomani. Members<br />

of It’s On USFCA and other student community<br />

groups created these demands following advice<br />

from student survivors. “These five demands aren’t<br />

everything. We had a much longer list,” co-organizer<br />

Klemer De Lassé said. “We stripped it down<br />

to those that we think are the most immediate and<br />

allow us to form groups that can continue this<br />

work on campus.”<br />

According to Samson, the University will be<br />

responding to these demands soon. “In consultation<br />

with university leadership, Fr. Fitzgerald is<br />

preparing responses to the submitted demands.<br />

These responses will be shared with the entire university<br />

community,” she said. In addition to the<br />

open forum ASUSF Senate held with Fitzgerald on<br />

<strong>Oct</strong>. 6th and listening sessions offered by the Title<br />

IX office, “additional town halls are still in the<br />

planning stages. The community will be notified<br />

when scheduling is finalized.”<br />

A member of the crowd, sophomore performing<br />

arts and social justice major Daisy Guiterrez<br />

said, “I didn’t know that [the University] wasn’t doing<br />

anything until I attended this event and started<br />

hearing my friends and their stories. I am very disappointed<br />

and expect more from the administration<br />

since this is a social justice institution.”<br />

While the SI report sparked the event, “it isn’t<br />

limited to athletics on campus,” Klemer De Lassé<br />

said. “It’s all systems of brotherhood, anywhere<br />

where people protect each other and don’t allow<br />

victims the freedoms they deserve. We see it all<br />

over campus.” This sentiment was expressed in a<br />

chant spoken by the crowd: “It starts with systems<br />

of brotherhood, we’re changing it from here.”<br />

“We’re paying too much for us to be living in<br />

an unsafe environment where they don’t care about<br />

us,” sophomore performing arts and social justice<br />

major Amel Murray said in a statement to the Foghorn.<br />

“If this is how they are going to treat this,<br />

how do they treat other situations? What else has<br />

been buried and overlooked?”<br />

The Foghorn will continue its coverage on the<br />

issues raised by Sports Illustrated’s article and anything<br />

related to this subject in the coming weeks.<br />

Reach out to tips@sffoghorn.com or our news editor<br />

at marcayena@sffoghorn.com.<br />

NEWS<br />




Contributing Writer<br />

Editor’s note: This story contains an account of<br />

sexual misconduct.<br />

President Paul J. Fitzgerald S.J. was last week’s<br />

guest speaker at ASUSF Senate’s weekly general<br />

meeting. This was the first time Fitzgerald faced<br />

the student body since the release of the Sept. 30<br />

Sports Illustrated story. The hourlong session was<br />

an open forum accessible to the public, and students<br />

were encouraged to attend. Attendees were<br />

also allowed to ask Fitzgerald questions during this<br />

time.<br />

When asked to respond to the lack of proper<br />

consequences given to student perpetrators of sexual<br />

assault in the past, Fitzgerald said, “I do not<br />

personally participate in the disciplinary process.”<br />

Later on, when a student asked about a possible<br />

shutdown of the men’s soccer team, Fitzgerald stated<br />

that “there are no complaints against any current<br />

soccer player.”<br />

A senator then asked Fitzgerald to address<br />

what the University is doing to mitigate this issue<br />

without placing the responsibility solely on students.<br />

Fitzgerald said, “It’s okay to trust the folks<br />

in Counseling and Psychological Services, it’s okay<br />

to trust Student Conduct or Title IX.” He emphasized<br />

that students needed to trust campus resources<br />

to resolve issues, but many students in the room<br />

voiced their opinion that there was not much confidence<br />

in those resources after past failures.<br />

Sage (a pseudonym), a third-year student,<br />

attended the meeting and expressed their dissatisfaction<br />

with Fitzgerald’s remarks. “I’m not sure<br />

what I expected from Father Fitz, but the meeting<br />

was wholly disappointing.” Sage added that their<br />

disappointment with Fitzgerald’s address of this<br />

issue mirrored the students’ faces throughout the<br />

meeting.<br />

“You could feel the collective frustration<br />

throughout the atmosphere,” said Sage, “Father<br />

Fitzgerald was very deflective whenever he was<br />

asked about the sexual assault issue on campus.”<br />

According to Sage, Fitzgerald offered mere lip service<br />

and an illusory listening ear, instead of truly<br />

listening to the concerns brought up by students<br />

and senators alike.<br />

“A lot of what the administration is offering<br />

places the responsibility of resolving this issue<br />

squarely on the students,” Sage said. “They spend

04<br />


OCT. <strong>14</strong><br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />

NEWS<br />

a lot more time marketing these resources to students<br />

[rather] than ensuring that there is trust between<br />

students and faculty, and that we actually<br />

feel safe enough to come forward.”<br />

Alana Harrington, the executive assistant to<br />

the vice president of Student Life, also attended<br />

the meeting with Fitzgerald. When asked about<br />

her reaction, she said, “Based on the discussion<br />

tonight, we have a lot of work to do.” Harrington<br />

added that this is a responsibility that falls on the<br />

entire community, “I don’t think one person can<br />

do this work. I believe in circular leadership and<br />

we as a community need to address it.”<br />

The following day, a vigil was held outside the<br />

President’s office at Rossi Wing on Lone Mountain.<br />

The community vigil, organized by It’s On<br />

USFCA, an organization that advocates for survivors<br />

of sexual violence at USF, was one of two<br />

events held <strong>Oct</strong>. 7. After beginning at Rossi Wing,<br />

the organizers led attendees in a candlelit march<br />

down to Gleeson Plaza, while distinct chants such<br />

as “student survivors over investors and buyers”<br />

and “student survivors over rapists and liars” rang<br />

from the crowd.<br />

When the march arrived at Gleeson Plaza, the<br />

organizers engaged the crowd with the installation<br />

of red pickets in Gleeson Library’s front lawn, in<br />

order to represent the impact of sexual violence at<br />

USF. “These pickets represent a small portion of<br />

the many survivors to come through USF in the<br />

last decade and who attend currently,” the organization<br />

stated.<br />

The vigil also included religious leaders from<br />

the University Ministry to help create a space for<br />

grounding and centering, and religious sermons<br />

were also given. Senior politics major Alana Beltran-Balagso,<br />

who is one of the student organizers,<br />

“You could feel the collective frustration throughout the atmosphere,”<br />

said one student describing the meeting with President<br />



believed that while their sermons were well-intentioned,<br />

they did not present words of comfort to<br />

survivors. “If anyone was triggered by those words,<br />

know I was too,” said Beltran-Balagso. “At the end<br />

of the day, we all have unlearning to do regarding<br />

rape culture, but we all should acknowledge it instead<br />

of perpetuating it.”<br />

When asked why she had participated as one<br />

of the organizers, Beltran-Balagso shared her own<br />

story of sexual violence. She had been at USF for<br />

two months as a freshman when she was raped in<br />

Toler Hall. “I chose my college by printing out<br />

a list of all the universities in the country that<br />

had high rates of sexual assault on campus. In<br />

the schools I was applying to, I crossed out every<br />

school that was on that list. And it still happened.”<br />

She added that before her assault happened, she<br />

had felt safe on campus because she thought she’d<br />

chosen “a school that was going to ‘change the<br />

world from here.’”<br />

Beltran-Balagso’s view of USF changed after<br />

that. The culture on campus, fueled by the actions<br />

of the soccer team, became observably clear.<br />

“Once that door had been opened, I looked at the<br />

school differently, and suddenly I could see it everywhere,”<br />

said Beltran-Balagso. “It took me a long<br />

time to be able to walk on campus again and speak<br />

to people.”<br />

She affirmed that her story propelled her into<br />

speaking out and becoming more involved in this<br />

issue. “I have everything I lost back and more. I<br />

just want to put that energy into making sure that<br />

as I leave this campus that more people don’t have<br />

to face this issue. And I know they will, but if we<br />

can even reduce it a percentage, that would make<br />

all the difference.”<br />

Beltran-Balagso emphasized her group’s demands<br />

to the University and Father Fitzgerald,<br />

“Our demands are base level, but there needs to<br />

be more. Father Fitzgerald needs to apologize, but<br />

that can’t be the only action he takes.”<br />


An inside look at how<br />

Sports Illustrated got hold of USF<br />


Staff Writer<br />

Because of their thorough approach, SI reporters Priya Desai and Jenny Vratas decided<br />

not to publicize their story in January <strong>2021</strong> after the Hulst & Handler report was released.<br />


The USF community woke up Sept. 30 to disturbing details from a devastating<br />

Sports Illustrated (SI) report detailing years of alleged sexual misconduct by<br />

the University’s men’s soccer team spanning two decades. The nearly 8,000-word<br />

article was another inflection point in what has already been a turbulent year and<br />

a half for the University’s leadership, athletics department, and student body. The<br />

investigation by SI reporters Priya Desai and Jenny Vrentas took 16 months to<br />

complete. Since publication, it has caused more demands for campus action and<br />

a reflection on the University’s values.<br />

Last summer, Desai was contacted by the sister of a former USF student,<br />

regarding a possible story on the toxic environment that engulfed the University’s<br />

men’s soccer team. Desai said that the woman’s account sounded familiar<br />

to a tweet she saw earlier that day from another individual. The following day,<br />

a petition was made by a USF alum, calling for University action in response to<br />

the team’s misconduct. Intrigued by the social media firestorm, Desai contacted<br />

the petition’s author, 2019 graduate Will Midence, and shared her contact<br />

information with Midence and other survivors if they were willing to tell their<br />

experiences.<br />

“There was an immediate response,” said Desai. “It wasn’t that survivors<br />

were trickling in, off the bat I heard from five women.” After former USF soccer<br />

player, Manny Padilla was initially suspended and then released from his former

team July 25, Desai received more<br />

responses from survivors as well as<br />

supporting testimonies. Sensing the<br />

magnitude of the story, Desai contacted<br />

fellow SI reporter Jenny Vrentas<br />

as the latter had done prior reporting<br />

on the same subject.<br />

“Because of the scope and<br />

breadth of the allegations, it was really<br />

jarring,” said Vrentas when asked<br />

what urged her to join her colleague.<br />

She added that there needed to be<br />

a more in-depth understanding of<br />

the allegations and their prevalence,<br />

given the unique smaller size of USF<br />

compared to other schools that had<br />

similar scandals tied to larger athletic<br />

programs. “We’ve heard this happen<br />

at Baylor or LSU, but now it’s happening<br />

at a relatively small school<br />

and not a football program. It’s maybe<br />

not where you would expect it,”<br />

said Vrentas.<br />

Last spring, Vrentas wrote a<br />

story detailing accounts of alleged<br />

unwanted sexual advances by NFL<br />

quarterback Deshaun Watson towards<br />

massage therapists. Another<br />

investigative piece looked into the<br />

NFL’s New Orleans Saints and the<br />

team’s involvement in giving extensive<br />

public relations assistance to the<br />

Archdiocese of New Orleans and its<br />

subsequent coverup of sexual abuse<br />

by its clergy.<br />

Vrentas clarified that Desai was<br />

the lead investigator for this issue as she mostly focused on recovering court<br />

records and police reports from cases related to the allegations and comments<br />

made by members of the USF community. Initially, Vrentas was worried that<br />

the pandemic would make it difficult for them to receive court documents,<br />

but it was not a major problem.<br />

Desai had communicated with “at least a dozen” survivors, but the five<br />

women who shared their experiences of alleged abuse “were the ones that I<br />

had a consistent long-term rapport with and the ones where we were able to<br />

speak with witnesses, friends, family, and documentation as their stories were<br />

unfolded.”<br />

As a professional reporter, Desai had never worked on a story for 16<br />

months. Although it did take nearly a year and a half to publish, both Desai<br />

and Vrentas said the story required a rigorous and meticulous approach. “We<br />

built a relationship with all these women and that made the biggest difference,”<br />

said Desai. She added, “to be able to really talk about trauma, it takes<br />

months and months of trust between us and them.”<br />

For Desai, conversing with the survivors was “on a personal level, a lot to<br />

take in.” Each time that she spoke to one of the survivors, they would ask how<br />

she was doing, given the gravity of the stories.<br />

Both revealed that part of their investigation could have been published<br />

before the Hulst and Handler report came out back in January, but it was not<br />

justified to do so even if another outlet had picked up on it because “it’s about<br />

being as thorough as possible,” said Desai. Additionally, both women worked<br />

on other stories outside of this subject.<br />

Vrentas said, “You are putting forth an account rooted in facts and that’s<br />

why it takes a long time for stories like this to publish.” Both reporters emphasized<br />

the importance of following the survivor’s accounts with corroborations<br />

from others, physical evidence, University reaction, and comments from<br />

the accused. “The Hulst & Handler report referred to a lot of rumors going<br />

around the school but when we publish the story, we say we vetted these, and<br />

we’re letting you know as we share these accounts how we vetted them.”<br />

In reaching out to the University’s current administrators, Desai said that<br />

“no one chose to speak with us one-on-one.” However, the University responded<br />

to the reporters’ list of questions through Kellie Samson, the office of<br />

marketing and communications head of media relations. In a statement to the<br />

Foghorn, Samson said, “They sent over more than 40 detailed questions that<br />

I then shared with USF administrators (Student Life, Title IX, athletics, etc.)<br />

who provided responses in writing.” Samson added, “Due to the extent of the<br />

questions USF was asked, we expected the article to be lengthy and detailed,<br />

and to receive much attention.”<br />

Shocked when she first heard about the allegations, Vrentas compared this case to recent scandals at bigger universities like Baylor and LSU and their<br />


The University’s response has garnered some criticism. Drawing from her<br />

previous reporting, Vrentas said independent investigations commissioned by<br />

institutions that are under fire can be problematic. “Obviously if an investigation<br />

needs to be done, someone needs to fund that investigation but is the<br />

result actually independent, or is it being used to say we’ve gotten to this step<br />

and thus we can move forward,” she said. For many of the former and current<br />

students that both Desai and Vrentas talked to, the Hulst & Handler findings<br />

were an issue.<br />

One of the sources Desai spoke with was Caroline Christ, a USF alum<br />

and one of the organizers of the advocacy group, It’s on USFCA. Christ said<br />

that they had redirected some of the survivors they had contacted to the SI<br />

reporters. “We began asking these survivors, ‘Do you want to tell your story<br />

on a bigger scale or at least talk to these folks that are doing this investigative<br />

report?’” She contended that because survivors were comfortable enough to<br />

share their experiences with either their group or Desai and Vrentas, it symbolized<br />

the relationship between them and the University.<br />

Christ commended SI and its reporters for providing a platform for survivors<br />

even though the process took an extended period of time. “I think the<br />

end result and the most powerful part of this article is that it was done so<br />

intentionally to give survivors the space to share their stories,” said Christ. She<br />

added that timing could not have been better as most students have returned<br />

to campus and subsequently student support has grown for their group.<br />

Desai and Vrentas said that the reaction has been strong since it was published.<br />

“We received a number of messages from people we had spoken with<br />

and those we didn’t,” said Vrentas. She explained this response comes from the<br />

fact that “it resonated with a lot of people in the USF community because it<br />

was something they had recognized or maybe tried to bring awareness to but<br />

felt like no one would listen to them.”<br />

Desai said at times could not help but wonder what would have happened<br />

if students or alumni hadn’t posted stories of abuse on social media.<br />

From Desai’s perspective, the question still left unanswered is “what constitutes<br />

a pervasive problem or culture?” Ultimately, Desai’s main takeaway from<br />

this story is that “journalism is important to our society and democracy” because<br />

issues like sexual violence and abusive behavior remain prevalent today.<br />

The Foghorn will continue its coverage on the issues raised by Sports<br />

Illustrated’s article and anything related to this subject in the coming weeks.<br />

Reach out to tips@sffoghorn.com or our news editor at marcayena@sffoghorn.com.<br />

05<br />


06<br />


OCT. <strong>14</strong><br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />




NEWS<br />


Contrubuting Writer<br />

A student sustained serious injuries after falling from a third story window at the<br />

Lone Mountain East (LME) residence hall <strong>Oct</strong> 3. According to Torry Brouillard-Bruce,<br />

the senior director of student housing, two public safety officers were dispatched to Lone<br />

Mountain East to provide medical aid to the student.<br />

“Dispatch immediately called the SF Department of Emergency Management,<br />

requesting immediate medical response. When officers arrived on scene, they sat with<br />

our student and began speaking with them in efforts to keep them calm and conscious,”<br />

Brouillard-Bruce said.<br />

Some students expressed concern about the way members of the Residential Life<br />

staff addressed the situation, stating that they believed the resident assistants (RAs) were<br />

catering more to the reputation of the school than to the students in need.<br />

Students who witnessed the accident, or were nearby at the time, attempted to comfort<br />

the injured student. One student, who wishes to remain anonymous, said they tried<br />

to take care of the student who was in distress themself. “I wish the students were more<br />

taken care of. Especially those that were impacted the most. It was obvious that no one<br />

was there for them which is why I think it would have been nice for the RAs to have been<br />

more present.”<br />

Brouillard-Bruce and the team at SHaRE say that in addition to a summer training<br />

course, they train RAs to respond to events like these. “Once the RAs are on campus, they<br />

attend more in-depth training on the following areas: emergency protocols, crisis response,<br />

mediation, conflict resolution, community building, programming and team building,”<br />

Brouillard-Bruce said.<br />

An email went out to the Lone Mountain East community <strong>Oct</strong>. 5 to inform them<br />

about the incident and alert any students present at the incident of the campus resources<br />

including Office of Community Living, LME Residential Life, Counseling and Psychological<br />

Services (CAPS), and University Ministry.<br />

In the aftermath of the accident, Vice President of Student Life Julie Orio and Shannon<br />

Gary the dean of students and associate vice president of student life sent an <strong>Oct</strong>. 7<br />

community-wide email. The email said, “Healing spaces have been organized for students<br />

in LME and CAPS is available to all USF students.” Some students, including roommates<br />

of the student, tried to book appointments at CAPS and were told there were no available<br />

sessions. According to CAPS’ website, there is typically a wait time of up to two weeks.<br />

CAPS failed to comment before this story was published.<br />

Brouillard-Bruce, noted that the last reported incident of a student sustaining injuries<br />

while falling or climbing out of a window is from spring 2009.<br />

Following the event, the student was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Currently,<br />

the student is stable with several surgeries to come. Since the event, a friend of the<br />

student set up a GoFundMe page to support medical costs and recovery. As of <strong>Oct</strong>. 12,<br />

they have raised $26,846.<br />

Despite suffering critical injuries, the student who fell from their third floor window is now in stable condition. PHOTO BY BEAU TATTERSALL/SAN FRANCISCO FOGHORN





Staff Writer<br />

The Black Student Union (BSU) was founded in the<br />

spring of 1968 days after the murder of Martin Luther<br />

King Jr., by a small group of Black students in need of<br />

community. Since then, the BSU’s actions have been intertwined<br />

with USF’s history, and without the organization’s<br />

significant impact, the University would not be what it is<br />

today. Though instrumental in the early recruitment of<br />

Black students and the inclusion of critical diversity studies<br />

at the University, it was only this year that the BSU’s<br />

documented history was given a place in Gleeson Library’s<br />

Digital Collections archive.<br />

“Before my hire, I did research on Gleeson Library,<br />

and I noticed that there weren't any digital collections that<br />

were focused on any Black experiences at the University,”<br />

said Gina Murrell, the digital collections librarian who<br />

headed the extensive two-year project. Murrell’s vision for<br />

the collection was to create a “one-stop shop for all the<br />

BSU’s history at the University in just one digitical collection.”<br />

The collection showcases everything from Black student<br />

reflections to cultural events put together by the BSU.<br />

D’Vine Riley, the BSU’s current president, thinks the<br />

organization being added to the digital collection is a step<br />

in the right direction for being recognized as central to the<br />

University’s history. “I think honoring the momentum that<br />

has been started already by the generations before us is definitely<br />

something that we continue to strive for,” said Riley.<br />

“The archives in that case will be essential because we can<br />

also use them for accountability, and recognizing where we<br />

have come from, and what we still need to work on for<br />

initiatives moving forward.”<br />

Adrienne Riley, one of the BSU’s founding members,<br />

donated many of the organization's materials to the<br />

University’s scholarship repository, which Murrell said is<br />

a home for scholarly output, such as research papers and<br />

dissertations. “They really belonged in their own digital<br />

collection,” said Murrel.<br />

The collection’s creation was a collaboration between<br />

the library and foundational members of the BSU.<br />

Through her contact with early members of the union,<br />

Murrell was able to collect materials and establish context<br />

and narrative for the BSU’s foundational years.<br />

In the Gleeson Gleanings blog post about the collection,<br />

Murrell detailed what she learned from the conversations<br />

with BSU members from the 1960s and ‘70s. The<br />

understanding she gained included “accounts of the 1970<br />

BSU occupation and window smashing at the on-campus<br />

gym in response to the openly racist actions toward the<br />

Black drill team and players during an intramural basketball<br />

game,” as well as those from Black Cultural Week in<br />

1969 that included fashion, music, and a “demonstration<br />

in memory of Brother Malcolm X.” The recollections illustrated<br />

how Black students came together to form a supportive<br />

community on campus.<br />

Murrell hopes that oral histories will be documented<br />

and added to the collection, since Adrienne Riley has been<br />

the only member who has retained physical materials from<br />

the organization’s early years. Murrell said that materials<br />

belonging to other members have been lost over the years<br />

because of moves between houses. In the case of one person<br />

she did not specifically identify, a house fire destroyed the<br />

physical documents in their possession.<br />

“Those stories are really a treasure and should be captured<br />

in some way, shape, or form because at one point,<br />

none of these people will be with us, you already have some<br />

of them, early BSU members have passed and died. And<br />

they're taking these stories with them,” said Murrell.<br />

A. Riley emphasized the importance of sharing these<br />

stories. “You have to know where you’ve been to know<br />

where you’re going,” said Riley. “To have that archive at<br />

the University, not only for Black students and alumni, but<br />

for everyone to know that was a significant part of the University,<br />

and led to many of the things that are happening<br />

now...I just think it’s fabulous.”<br />

Riley described the BSU in its early years as a “busy<br />

group” that “planted the seeds” for many positive changes<br />

at the University. “Many of us were the first-generation of<br />

college students,” said Riley. “We wanted the University to<br />

understand who we were, the value we had at the University,<br />

how our input, our presence, our consciousness, can<br />

make the University a better place in all their decisions.”<br />

Following its founding, BSU initiatives were geared<br />

toward many progressive changes within the University,<br />

including the encouragement of hiring more Black faculty<br />

and staff, the increase of Black student enrollment involving<br />

recruitment at local high schools, and bringing influential<br />

people such as Muhammad Ali and Angela Davis<br />

to USF.<br />

“We had Thanksgiving food drives, we had a Halloween<br />

Carnival for the children in the community, we were<br />

steadfast in getting the University to begin Black Studies<br />

and Ethnic Studies courses,” said Riley. “And at the same<br />

time, we knew that we were students, and we helped each<br />

other to be successful.”<br />

Standout materials currently in the collection include<br />

those that document the activities of the BSU’s foundational<br />

members and the cultural events that they organized.<br />

These include a 1970 proposal for a two-day “Conference<br />

on the Role of the Artist in the Cultural Revolution,” the<br />

purpose of which was to “bring together artists from all<br />

over to discuss and formulate<br />

ideas on the role<br />

that artists are already<br />

playing, and how best<br />

they can fulfill this role<br />

in the future,” according<br />

to the proposal.<br />

The conference was to<br />

include “cultural activities,”<br />

such as a film festival,<br />

a music concert,<br />

a dance concert, book<br />

displays, and artistic<br />

workshops.<br />

“There were collaborative<br />

programs<br />

that we worked on together,” said Alison Richardson,<br />

who served as the vice president and president of the BSU<br />

during her years at USF in the 1990s. “A lot of it was culture<br />

sharing. We would support each other for our cultural<br />

events, and then do events that brought us together.”<br />

Another document that illustrates these programs is a<br />

playbill for “Three Phases of the Black Man,” a play written<br />

and produced by Daphyne Brown and directed by Linda<br />

Barconey in 1972. The play consisted of three segments,<br />

and included elements such as “African Dancers,” “Profiles<br />


in Black,” and “Militant Speakers.”<br />

Riley said the play was pertinent to what was happening<br />

in Black communities and exemplified how the organization<br />

sought to bring “cultural enrichment” to USF. “We<br />

had drummers come and singers and dancers and African<br />

garb and African American food,” Riley said. “Culture and<br />

arts and music play an important part of being educated<br />

and being well-rounded. We really tried to take advantage<br />

of a lot of things happening in the East Bay and San Francisco<br />

communities, different concerts or plays or what have<br />

you.”<br />

Richardson said these events put together by the BSU<br />

were important in making their members feel “like we belonged”<br />

as students of color in a predominantly white institution.<br />

One of the events the BSU organized during her<br />

time as a graduate student at USF was a service including a<br />

local gospel choir and the University Ministry to celebrate<br />

who they were as a community and the diversity within.<br />

“It's always important to me to hear just in music,<br />

and gospel music, the beauty that is within that shares the<br />

story of Black history and Black people and their movement.<br />

And, it's an opportunity, it's one of those kinds of<br />

commonalities that folks can listen to and still be educated<br />

around,” Richardson said.<br />

Moving forward, Murrell has high hopes for what the<br />

current membership can contribute to the collection. “This<br />

isn't just something that's just from the past,” Murrell said.<br />

“We are looking at the BSU in the present in terms of what<br />

can be contributed from the current membership, and so<br />

it depends on what's available, but we're hoping that it<br />

will be more visual in terms of just the artistic content and<br />

development [of the organization].”<br />

D. Riley is optimistic about the BSU’s future and<br />

what they may be able to contribute by fostering a creative,<br />

positive energy within the organization. “We are planning<br />

a lot more celebratory spaces for blackness, because over<br />

the past couple years, there's been a lot of mourning, a lot<br />

of grief,” Riley said.<br />

“A lot of issues are still relevant today in terms of<br />

Black life on campus, and the current BSU membership<br />

will carry that torch forward in terms of just it being a<br />

truly inclusive and diverse University,” said Murrell. “We<br />

have the early BSU to thank for that. And I'm glad their<br />

history is being highlighted in the digital collections. This<br />

Gleeson Library Digital Collection is an example to follow<br />

now and in the future.”<br />

A playbill from “Three Phases of the Black Man,” written and produced<br />

by Daphyne Brown and directed by Linda Barconey in 1972, is included<br />

in the new Black Student Union Collection. PHOTO COURTESY OF<br />


07<br />


08<br />


OCT. <strong>14</strong><br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />



SCENE<br />


Contrubuting Writer<br />

USF English professors Christina Lopez and Bruce Snider joined together<br />

<strong>Oct</strong>. 7 for the English Faculty Fall Colloquium to read excerpts from books<br />

they are currently working on. Lopez, a literary scholar, and Snider, a poet,<br />

shared these works in progress “to show students that we struggle as well,”<br />

demonstrating that creative work is not always polished.<br />

The desire behind the event was to create a communal experience among<br />

writers as the vulnerability that comes from sharing one’s work can benefit<br />

both the listener and the writer. Mallory Shafer, a junior English major who<br />

attended the event, said, “Before choosing this major, I was slightly put off<br />

by it, thinking that studying English was pretty uniform, but the colloquium<br />

showed how diverse English can be. The presentations explored culture, spirituality,<br />

aesthetics, identity, and the human experience.”<br />

Lopez, who is also the director of Chicanx-Latinx studies at USF, shared a<br />

book proposal for “Picturing Spiritual Ecologies: Environmental Relations in<br />

Latinx Children’s Picture Books.” She said her work highlights how children’s<br />

books can be a radical act, and she is interested in what these books say about<br />

human relationships to the environment, as well as what they tell us about the<br />

relationship between text and image. Her book will touch on Latinx studies,<br />

children’s and young adult studies, environmental and ecological studies, and<br />

religious studies. In writing, Lopez hopes to connect children’s picture books<br />

with ecological theory, and treat them like “Literature with a capital L.”<br />

One example of Lopez’s work centers on the book “Little Night/Nochecita,”<br />

a bilingual picture book by Yuyi Morales focusing on Black and Latina<br />

women. In the book, Morales associates women with the night sky as a form<br />

of productive myth storytelling, where fantastical images are used to create<br />

positive and empowering associations. Lopez shared images from the project<br />

because she wanted the audience to imagine the kind of beauty that can exist<br />

in these picture books.<br />

Snider’s book, “High Lonesome Sound,” is a collection of poetry Snider<br />

described as a long, personal story, including thinking poems, in which<br />

he philosophizes on ideas of sound, high and low culture, and the relationship<br />

between country music and queerness. Snider read three poems from his<br />

book, “Reading the Book of American Murder Ballads I Remember Reading,”<br />

“When our Father Forgets the Last Verse of George Straight’s ‘Foolhardy<br />

Memory’,” and “Listening to ‘I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry’ on my iPhone.”<br />

Snider described his poetry as a combination of different elements, including<br />

references to country music, literary authors, scientific language, and the idea<br />

of embodying a story.<br />

Snider explained that country music, which he grew up with, is often<br />

dismissed as a lower class art form. He also expressed the idea that as he grew<br />

up, he believed that urban queer culture was the only legitimate queer culture,<br />

and so he wrote poems about what he thought he was supposed to write about.<br />

Snider wants to encourage young writers to write about their true experiences,<br />

rather than performing their identity in the way they feel is expected of them.<br />

Throughout the event, the two writers’ works were placed side by side,<br />

inviting the audience to see the similarities between them. The creators wanted<br />

to include examples of literary scholarship and creative work, both of which<br />

are central elements of the English department at USF. Lopez says that Snider’s<br />

work “gives me things to think about —the idea of listening and sound is what<br />

we do as literary scholars.”<br />

Snider agreed that their works complemented each other. “Despite all the<br />

differences in our forms and our approaches, both my and Professor Lopez's<br />

work seems engaged with how literature is a bodily/embodied experience,”<br />

said Snider in an email.<br />

Explaining what she took away from the event, Jessie Lee, a senior nursing<br />

major, said, “Through poetry, and art itself, many people can come together<br />

with seemingly different interests, but there's always a common ground in<br />

all of us that we live through human experiences. I felt like my humanity was<br />

celebrated in this event.”<br />

Christina Lopez and Bruce Snider presented their literary works at the English Faculty Fall Colloquium <strong>Oct</strong> 7. HEADSHOTS COURTESY OF CHRISTINA LOPEZ AND BRUCE SNIDER AND GRAPH-<br />




09<br />

Britney Spears supporters hold up signs promoting the Free Britney Movement in front of the Lincoln Memorial in July. PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE J MAGUIRE/FLICKR<br />

SCENE<br />


Contributing Writer<br />

For the past 13 years, Britney Spears has been<br />

under a legal conservatorship that has allowed her<br />

father, Jamie Spears, to control her estate, finances,<br />

and personal affairs. As of Sept. 30, his role as her<br />

conservator has been suspended.<br />

In 2008, Spears suffered a public mental breakdown<br />

and was reportedly placed on psychiatric hold<br />

two separate times. According to Mr. Spears, this<br />

was a clear sign that his daughter’s mental health<br />

was deteriorating and that he needed to take action,<br />

prompting him to take on the role of Spears’ conservator.<br />

Since then, many questioned whether the<br />

conservatorship stemmed from a desire to control<br />

and exploit the singer rather than to protect her.<br />

Spears famously testified in June that there were<br />

many instances in which, under her father’s approval,<br />

she was drugged and forced to perform against<br />

her will during both her Las Vegas residency and her<br />

2018 European tour.<br />

Spears has also been unable to have more children<br />

under her conservatorship, as she was forced<br />

to keep in an IUD as birth control. Some USF<br />

students believe that what has happened to Spears<br />

speaks to more pervasive issues regarding the preservation<br />

of bodily autonomy in this country.<br />

Lucie Maas, a first year philosophy student, has<br />

been keeping up with the trials through the “Free<br />

Britney” movement on social media. “I am shocked<br />

that this has been allowed to happen in California,<br />

of all places,” Maas said. “Coming from the Midwest,<br />

I always thought of California as this progressive<br />

place. This just shows that regardless of where<br />

you’re from or how much money you have, if you’re<br />

a woman, your right to choose what to do with your<br />

body will always be up for debate.”<br />

Sophomore pre-med student, Julia Riad, was<br />

elated to hear of Spears’ release from her father’s<br />

control, having felt that the conservatorship could<br />

potentially start a dangerous pattern for others.<br />

Riad said, “If they can make these claims that Britney<br />

Spears is unwell and therefore needs to be controlled,<br />

what is stopping them from making these<br />

claims about any woman?”<br />

Riad also said that Spears’ treatment went<br />

against her personal values. “I am pro-choice. That<br />

means just as I support a woman’s right to a safe and<br />

legal abortion, I must also support Spears’ right to<br />

have a child if that is what she wants.”<br />

Likewise, sophomore biology major Sadaf<br />

Dabiri said that she feels what is happening with<br />

Spears is a “sickening and prime example of men<br />

believing that they have the right to control others’<br />

decisions.” She said the conservatorship is misogynistic<br />

and that “Spears has been completely taken<br />

advantage of.”<br />

Dabiri believes that it is important to become<br />

involved on all issues regarding reproductive rights,<br />

whether they concern a famous individual, such as<br />

Spears, or an entire population. On <strong>Oct</strong>. 2, Dabiri<br />

attended a Women’s March that protested Texas’<br />

new law that would outlaw abortions after six<br />

weeks of pregnancy, which is often before a woman<br />

even knows she is pregnant. Upon hearing about the<br />

ban, she said she instantly felt compelled to act. “I<br />

felt as if there was an attack on my rights,” Dabiri<br />

said. “After this newest law, I felt as though I could<br />

no longer be an activist by reposting the same prochoice<br />

Instagram infographics. I needed to get out.”<br />

There will be a hearing Nov. 12 to determine<br />

whether Spears’ conservatorship will be terminated<br />

in its entirety, freeing the singer once and for all.

10<br />


OCT. <strong>14</strong><br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />





junior architecture major.<br />

As the writer, it is my responsibility to give<br />

you a content warning: this article focuses on sexual<br />

assault, college rape culture, survivor stories,<br />

and related topics. Some people, by nature, tend<br />

to avoid these difficult topics of conversation,<br />

and those types of people will most likely not like<br />

what I have to say. This is a difficult, yet extremely<br />

important dialogue that the USF community<br />

needs to have.<br />

A number of women have reportedly been<br />

sexually assaulted or raped by previous members<br />

of the men’s soccer team, according to Sports Illustrated<br />

(SI). These are also only women who<br />

have shared their experiences. No one knows in<br />

actuality how many noncisgender male individuals<br />

have experienced any form of sexual assault<br />

on USF’s campus. After reading the SI article, the entire 53 page legal investigation,<br />

and listening to survivor stories, USF has not done nearly enough to<br />

support survivors on campus. The behavior of the administration is almost as<br />

disgusting as the behavior exemplified by the soccer players themselves.<br />

Since this article came out, I have felt like I am 13 again, the age when I<br />

experienced sexual trauma for the first time. As someone who has had seven<br />

years to process my own experiences, the wound it left feels fresher than it<br />

has in a long time. It also brings up much of the internal dialogue I’ve been<br />

battling regarding gender identity and sexual trauma.<br />

In 2020, I started questioning my gender identity. As I journeyed through<br />

finding myself as a nonbinary individual, I could not stop thinking about my<br />

experiences of being catcalled on the street, being sexualized by male classmates,<br />

and being sexually assaulted. The world was telling me that this was a<br />

women’s issue, and if I stopped identifying as a woman, it would invalidate<br />

my experiences and trauma that I faced as a cisgender woman. But it does not,<br />

and even though I stopped identifying as female, I still get catcalled. Just three<br />

weeks ago, a man unaffiliated with USF followed me in a car for a block near<br />

campus.<br />

Since the SI article came out, a lot of people have spoken exclusively<br />

about women’s rights, when we should be talking about survivors’ rights, and<br />

how in general, the majority of survivors are noncisgender male-identifying<br />

individuals, including women.<br />

To any noncisgender male-identifying individual, the type of sexist and<br />

predatory behavior that has been exuded by male soccer team members for<br />

at least two decades should not come as a surprise. I know it did not for me.<br />

Myself and many others wanted to believe the school when they said that<br />

this institution was going to be different because we, as survivors, have been<br />

let down by previous institutions. USF should not consider itself holier than<br />

others when it comes to rape culture just because it is a private Catholic institution.<br />

The reputation of other private Catholic institutions, i.e., the Catholic<br />

church sex abuse scandals, around the world already speaks volumes about<br />

rape culture.<br />

As it has now been a week with one response that left most community<br />

members unsatisfied from the University, students have taken on the responsibility<br />

to seek change in the administration. I applaud It’s On USFCA for all<br />

of the hard work they are doing and I want to second their demands for the<br />

University below:<br />

First, “Father Fitzgerald must apologize for the University’s failures in<br />

addressing sexual violence. He must meet with survivor and student-led organizations<br />

on campus committed to reducing sexual violence.” Second, “Survivor-centered<br />

Title IX policies (as of August 2020, they are not) regardless<br />

of DeVos’ Title IX Rule.” Third, “Creation of a student and survivor Sexual<br />

Violence Taskforce.” Fourth, “Required course and/or training for ALL community<br />

members (students, faculty, staff, coaches, etc.) at least quarterly.” And<br />

lastly, “Increased funding for sexual violence prevention and awareness programming<br />

year-round, including more transparent and comprehensive Title<br />

IX messaging.”<br />

I also have a few personal demands for the University and its community.<br />

Firstly, there should not only be an open dialogue on campus about<br />

supporting survivors but also an open dialogue about the intersectionality<br />

that survivors may face, and how those may make them more susceptible as<br />

targets. Secondly, Father Fitzgerald must make a public statement in support<br />

of survivors and their intersectional identities by recognizing these identities<br />

are still targeted by the patriarchal system of oppression that exists in our society<br />

today. He must also recognize the bravery of all individuals who have ever<br />

experienced sexual assault, especially the individuals who speak out against the<br />

system of oppression that these male soccer players have used to their advantage<br />

to commit abuse.<br />

I want to thank Sports Illustrated for shedding light on this situation. I<br />

also want to thank Ashley, Janet, McLoughlin, Casciano, and all of the other<br />

strong women who shared their stories in the article.<br />



11<br />



Staff Writer<br />

Junior Hannah Zeman plays a key role in USF women’s golf. Last<br />

season, the California native led the Dons to a fourth place finish in the<br />

West Coast Conference (WCC) standings, and she was also named to the<br />

<strong>2021</strong>-22 Preseason WCC team this past September. Speaking on Zeman’s<br />

accomplishment, USF<br />

women’s golf head<br />

coach, Sara Doell, told<br />

Dons Athletics, “I am<br />

excited to see that she<br />

earned this honor and<br />

know that she has the<br />

potential and the passion<br />

to keep moving<br />

her game forward.”<br />

Zeman’s journey<br />

in golf began at age<br />

seven after her father<br />

began taking golf lessons.<br />

Her high school,<br />

Ontario Christian<br />

High School, did not<br />

have a women’s golf<br />

program, so she joined<br />

the men’s golf team for<br />

her four years instead.<br />

“Some of the guys<br />

on my team were really<br />

supportive, but when<br />

we would go play<br />

other teams [opponents]<br />

would get mad<br />

at me if I was beating<br />

them or they'd be super<br />

weird towards me,<br />

so kind of having to<br />

navigate through that<br />

and through weird<br />

comments I would say<br />

has been interesting,”<br />

Zeman said.<br />

Zeman made<br />

strides on the team<br />

nonetheless, becoming<br />

the first female to<br />

qualify for the California<br />

Interscholastic<br />

Federation (CIF)<br />

State Championship,<br />

and she received seven<br />

top-10 finishes on the<br />

American Junior Golf<br />

Association (AJGA).<br />

As an English major,<br />

she finds that a day<br />

on the green can clear<br />

her writer’s block and<br />

help her find inspiration.<br />

“As soon as I feel<br />

like I'm on the golf<br />

course, I can just forget<br />

about all the other<br />


problems and just focus on golf,” says Zeman. “I always feel like I have<br />

a lot of fun out there, like, no matter what's going on. I feel like there's<br />

always something to take away from my experience out there.”<br />

In the past, coaches have encouraged Zeman to write down her emotions<br />

after her time on the course to understand her performance better.<br />

This is where she has been able to find patterns between her post-tournament<br />

feelings and her performance itself, as well as working through what<br />

her thought process<br />

was at the time of<br />

competition.<br />

Outside of<br />

writing, Zeman has<br />

used golf to shape<br />

her day-to-day<br />

mentality. “I feel<br />

like through golf,<br />

you really have to<br />

stay in the moment<br />

because if you're<br />

thinking about the<br />

next hole or the next<br />

shot [or] getting too<br />

ahead of yourself,<br />

it's not going to be<br />

good, you’re probably<br />

gonna have<br />

some bad results,”<br />

she said. “That kind<br />

of transfers into my<br />

life outside of golf<br />

because I really just<br />

try to stay in the<br />

moment now, and I<br />

feel like that's really<br />

nice to do because<br />

sometimes I get super<br />

ahead of myself<br />

so it's nice to be like<br />

okay, let's just stay<br />

in the moment, just<br />

enjoy it.”<br />

This season has<br />

seen Zeman replicate<br />

her past success.<br />

She led the<br />

Dons in top individual<br />

scores at the<br />

Cour D'Alene Resort<br />

Collegiate Invitational<br />

and the<br />

Molly College Invitational,<br />

bringing a<br />

strong start to her<br />

junior year season.<br />

Up next, Zeman<br />

and the team will<br />

head to Nevada for<br />

the Clash at Boulder<br />

Creek tournament<br />

<strong>Oct</strong>. 24-<strong>Oct</strong>.<br />

26.<br />


12<br />


OCT. <strong>14</strong><br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />


SPORTS<br />


Staff Writer<br />

Since its inception in 2012, the National Women’s<br />

Soccer League (NWSL) has enjoyed great success.<br />

However, its momentum came to a screeching halt<br />

when a Sept. 30 report by The Athletic revealed years of<br />

alleged sexual abuse toward players in the highest level<br />

of women’s soccer in the country. The fallout from this<br />

article trickled through the world of professional soccer<br />

and showed that institutions must do better to not<br />

only protect women but also enact meaningful measures<br />

of reform that do not shield abusers from their wrongdoings.<br />

The allegations themselves were years in the making,<br />

but The Athletic’s article, “‘This guy has a pattern’:<br />

Amid institutional failure, former NWSL players accuse<br />

prominent coach of sexual coercion,” burst open the<br />

floodgates to what has been two weeks of freefall for<br />

the league.<br />

Written by Meg Linehan, the story named two former<br />

players, Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim, who said<br />

they were abused by North Carolina Courage head coach<br />

Paul Riley, one of soccer’s most decorated coaches,<br />

while playing for the Portland Thorns FC, one of the<br />

NWSL’s most successful clubs.<br />

At the time, both women wanted Riley to be investigated<br />

for his actions, but owners refused because<br />

they had no reason to suspect that anything was amiss.<br />

Additionally, there were no policies in place with the<br />

Thorns FC’s human resources department that allowed<br />

them to file complaints. Further investigations showed<br />

that both the Thorns FC and the league quietly handled<br />

the matter, but those revelations did not come to light<br />

until Linehan’s story was published.<br />

In addition to Farrelly and Shim, Linehan spoke<br />

with more than a dozen players from every team Riley<br />

had coached since 2010. Every player noted Riley’s<br />

pattern of sexual abuse as well as multiple comments<br />

about players’ physical appearance and sexuality, allegations<br />

that Riley has repeatedly denied. Some players<br />

recall being forced to sit on Riley’s lap during car rides<br />

while Farrelly and Shim said that Riley made the players<br />

kiss in front of him in exchange for the team not having<br />

to do running drills at their next practice.<br />

The Courage fired Riley the same day the article<br />

was published, and the U.S. Soccer Federation suspended<br />

Riley’s coaching license, but these reactions were<br />

far too lenient as they allowed all of the involved parties<br />

to absolve themselves of any wrongdoings. Then-NWSL<br />

commissioner Lisa Baird released a statement which said<br />

that she “was shocked and disgusted to read the new<br />

allegations reported in The Athletic this morning.” She<br />

noted that “the league, in concert with the North Carolina<br />

Courage, has reacted swiftly in response to these<br />

new allegations, and former head coach Paul Riley has<br />

been terminated.” As it turned out, her words were<br />

nothing more than standard public relations jargon.<br />

Immediately after Baird’s statement, the Orlando<br />

Pride’s Alex Morgan posted screenshots of emails<br />

between Farrelly and Baird which indicated that the latter<br />

knew more than she initially let on. The OL Reign’s<br />

Megan Rapinoe also criticized Bair and took to Twitter<br />

saying, “Never once during this whole time was the right<br />

person protected. Not Mana, not Sinead, not us.” She<br />

added that Baird’s “statement is beyond disrespectful.”<br />

The following day would go down as one of the<br />

NWSL’s most hectic times with the league calling off<br />

all of that weekend’s scheduled games “given the gravity<br />

of the events of the last week.” FIFA and U.S. Soccer<br />

announced that they were starting their own investigations<br />

into Riley, Baird resigned as commissioner, and<br />

league general counsel Lisa Levine was dismissed from<br />

her position.<br />

Merritt Paulson, majority owner of the Thorns,<br />

penned an open letter four days after Linehan’s story<br />

where he recounted the Thorns’ decision to part ways<br />

with Riley at the end of the 2015 season. The sexual<br />

abuse allegations were a factor in the club’s decision, but<br />

Merritt wrote that the organzation “made an opaque announcement<br />

about not renewing Riley’s contract as opposed<br />

to explicitly announcing his termination, guided<br />

by what we, at the time, thought was the right thing to<br />

do out of respect for player privacy.” Paulson also deeply<br />

regretted the club’s “role in what is clearly a systemic<br />

failure across women’s professional soccer.”<br />

Paulson is right; there is systemic failure plaguing women’s<br />

professional soccer. Throughout their operations,<br />

the NWSL has touted itself as “the best women’s soccer<br />

league in the world,” but behind the scenes infractions<br />

rebuff these claims. Abuse did not start or end with the<br />

disgraced Riley; it has been woven into the organization’s<br />

fabric and just recently been made public knowledge.<br />

Mana Shim warming up with the Portland Thorns FC. She spoke<br />

on the record with The Athletic and detailed abuse she endured<br />

while Paul Riley coached the club. PHOTO COURTESY OF<br />


In the past, the Washington Post’s Molly<br />

Hensley-Clancy reported that former Washington Spirit<br />

coach Richie Burke had verbally abused his players<br />

and made racially insensitive remarks on multiple occasions.<br />

At least four players cited Burke as their reason for<br />

leaving the team. Hensley-Clancy also reported on the<br />

Spirit club as a whole and noted that players and staffers<br />

“had been subjected to a workplace culture that was<br />

toxic for women and, many said, for women of color.”<br />

Over the summer, the OL Reign parted ways with<br />

head coach Farid Benstiti after he made an inappropriate<br />

comment toward players in a training session. At<br />

the onset of Benstiti’s hiring, the soccer community collectively<br />

scratched their heads as Lindsey Horan spoke<br />

in a series of 2019 interviews, saying that Benstiti had<br />

criticized her weight and was brutal during her time at<br />

Paris Saint-Germain, a French professional football club<br />

that he had previously coached.<br />

After Baird’s resignation, the NWSL appointed a<br />

new executive committee to oversee front office operations<br />

until a new commissioner is found. Composed<br />

of the Orlando Pride’s executive vice president Amanda<br />

Duffy, Angie Long of KC NWSL, and OL Reign board<br />

member Sophie Sauvage, the trio feels like a massive<br />

oversight on the league’s part as all three positions went<br />

to white women who are affiliated with the league’s<br />

front offices in some capacity.<br />

Matches resumed <strong>Oct</strong>. 6 with players taking a<br />

stand against the league’s failure to protect them. In the<br />

first match of the night between the Washington Spirit<br />

and Gotham FC, players on the field and on their respective<br />

benches all stopped play and walked to midfield<br />

to link arms in a circle during the sixth minute. The<br />

NWSL Players Association (NWSLPA) announced that<br />

players in the two other games — the North Carolina<br />

Courage-Racing Louisville FC match and the Portland<br />

Thorns FC-Houston Dash match — would follow suit<br />

in a similar fashion.<br />

Amidst all of the chaos, the NWSL’s future hangs<br />

in the air with no clear trajectory in sight, but this is<br />

par for the course when it comes to letting issues fester<br />

for so long. I do not believe it is fair to chalk this<br />

scandal up to failure, shutter operations, and move on.<br />

Despite their repeated financial and physical neglect,<br />

NWSL players continued sacrificing better-paying jobs<br />

for a chance at their shot of playing professionally in the<br />

U.S., and their efforts ended up building the league into<br />

what it is today. Would it be fair to wipe the slate clean<br />

for abusers and their enablers while erasing the contributions<br />

of those who worked under adversity?<br />

The NWSL cannot look at this instance, or any<br />

other matter, in the accuser(s) versus accused binary.<br />

Gone are the days of quietly shuffling a coach between<br />

teams until they are no longer considered a threat to a<br />

person’s safety and well-being or slapping an offender<br />

on the wrist and claiming that nothing egregious happened.<br />

Many within the NWSL have called this point<br />

in time a “shut up and listen to the players” moment,<br />

and they are right to address it as such, especially when<br />

players have made it known that they will no longer let<br />

the league abuse its power. As we have seen time and<br />

time again, it is up to victims and the community at<br />

large to affect change because those with power are not<br />

keen on changing a system that works to their benefit.<br />

The NWSL must be more transparent with their<br />

hiring practices, give players meaningful and thorough<br />

policies that put their safety before anything else, and<br />

distribute power so that it does not squarely rest in the<br />

hands of abusers and their enablers. True to their fanaticism,<br />

NWSL team supporters have protested before<br />

games, amplified players’ voices on social media, and<br />

are calling on the front office to address the NWSLPA’s<br />

demands. Ridding the league of sexual abuse is about<br />

so much more than soccer. It is about ensuring that no<br />

woman is forced to accept systemic injustices as they are<br />

instead of questioning why issues got to a certain point.<br />

Unless internal shortsights are explicitly addressed,<br />

the NWSL machine will keep turning with the same<br />

cogs that have churned out negligence and mistreatment<br />

for the league’s most vulnerable and poorly protected<br />

members. In the meantime, the soccer world will continue<br />

reminding those in charge that everyone is watching<br />

their next move closely.

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