Diversity in Athletics
A Diversity@Bard Newsletter UpdateThe new year has provided a number of educational opportunities for staff in the Department of Athletics and Recreation. As some teams have returned to practice over the last few weeks, student-athletes have also been participating in DEI initiatives through the department.
Coaches and other staff in athletics attended workshops on antiracism and LGBTQ inclusion at the end of the fall semester, and in February attended a webinar hosted by coaches from MIT and Smith College entitled “Coach: Are You Afraid To Talk With Your Team About Race?” The content of the webinar was then discussed more in depth at the following staff meeting.
Also in February, a Feedback Form was launched on the Athletics website, and promoted through our social media channels, to allow anyone to express concerns, share experiences, or ask questions about the Department of Athletics—anonymously if they wish. A couple of weeks later, Interim Athletic Director David Lindholm and Senior Woman Administrator Stefanie Carrington hosted “Office Hours,” which was a Zoom webinar during which they addressed Feedback Form submissions and answered questions. The Office Hours will be offered regularly.
Some varsity programs have been engaged in training and education around DEI independently. The women’s lacrosse team has been hosting virtual game nights for Harlem Lacrosse in New York City, with the next one scheduled for March 22. They are interacting (via Zoom) with middle school Harlem Lacrosse programs from PS 149, PS 76 and Frederick Douglass Academy. The basis for the work, called “The Friendship Plan,” was drafted by the women’s lacrosse team last fall. Harlem Lacrosse programs in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Los Angeles are being encouraged to use Bard’s work as a template for their chapters by the New York City executive director.
The men’s basketball team collectively watched a video, read about, and then discussed the history of “redlining” in the last week of February. This followed up the work they did together in January around the Tulsa Race Massacre.
The men’s soccer team has been busy, too, completing their collective reading and discussion of Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This followed the work they did together in January to edit and update their Code of Conduct and Expectations.
The women’s lacrosse team, in addition to their effort with Harlem Lacrosse, collectively read Soup: A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture, as part of a team-building exercise. The impetus for that project came after the team’s work with 122 Consulting Group.
The Athletic department recently shared that because of an insufficient number of players in the men’s lacrosse program, the sport will no longer be offered as part of Bard College’s athletic program. However, throughout the year the team participated in regular and meaningful DEI work with external speakers and educators. For example, the team had a facilitated discussion with Nat St. Laurent, the Chair of the Diversity Committee for the Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches’ Association, and meetings with 122 Consulting to further the team's knowledge about issues of race and gender. They also attended additional discussions, lectures, and presentations facilitated by Bard staff and guest speakers on race and Title IX.
The department has discussed the need for teams to prepare for bias incidents that may occur on or off the field of play. Different teams and sports will have different concerns, but coaches will be working with students to walk through how students and staff will react when bias, discrimination, or other aggression occurs—whether from a teammate or coach, an opposing player or coach, or somebody else within the athletics realm. Bystander intervention workshops, one of which was held recently by the Title IX Office and attended by many athletes including a large contingent of the men’s soccer team, have also helped move these conversations forward.
A number of working groups continue to address various needs within the department, and the Discipline and Restorative Practices group has updated the process for implementing and reviewing any disciplinary measures that coaches and staff take within their teams. The process is now more aligned with Bard’s standards outside of athletics and is designed to make sure there aren’t disparities between teams and genders when it comes to policy and/or punishment.
The antiracism training for Bard student-athletes will be ongoing throughout the spring and into future years, with coaches hosting conversations within their teams about current events and specific student concerns.
The department also welcomes feedback, suggestions, comments, and concerns, either by emailing any of the staff (the full directory is available at www.bardathletics.com) or by using the Feedback Form, also available on the website.
For more information, call 845-758-6822.