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UVM track team spotlights sexual misconduct concerns at New England Championships

Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 5:53 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - University of Vermont track athletes this past weekend used their moment on the field to send a message about what they say is the school’s mishandling of sexual misconduct cases.

The UVM track and field team took part in the New England Championships in Connecticut. While at the meet, members of the team used the platform to protest the school’s handling of sexual misconduct cases on campus by covering the ‘Vermont’ name on their uniforms with black tape. Others wore teal bands or ribbons to promote sexual abuse awareness.

Cam McLaughlin, a senior, was one of the organizers of the protest, which came in the wake of a walkout by UVM students and supporters earlier this month to protest sexual violence on campus. McLaughlin says about 40% of the athletes at the meet this weekend used the tape on their uniforms and about 75% wore the ribbons.

“It needed to be done, and I believe that now it’s just gathering more publicity, all of it, especially the University of Vermont. I think the more people that know about it, the less that the university and the athletic department in particular can kind of hide away from it. So, I feel once it’s more exposed to the forefront, they’re going to be forced to be put it into a position where they need to make changes. Otherwise, it’s lunacy. I feel it will be a really terrible look for them. I guess our goal was also kind of to force their hand, almost make them respond to it,” McLaughlin said.

UVM Athletic Director Jeff Schulman issued a statement saying: ‘I am aware of the concerns expressed by student-athletes in our track and field program. My Athletic Department colleagues and I will continue to have dialogue with student-athletes about these concerns... I know that all of us in the Athletic Department are committed to eliminating sexual misconduct in all its forms and we will continue to work with our student-athlete leaders to ensure that our education, training and departmental response support this goal.”

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