A University of Portland tennis player has been taken off the team roster and could face additional discipline, after making comments described as “sexist” and “misogynist” while emceeing an annual awards banquet on Sunday.
The comments were pointed out by an article published in the school newspaper, The Beacon, on Monday.
The article’s author, Olivia Sanchez, is also a student athlete, and was in attendance when the remarks were made.
In the article, Sanchez called the awards ceremony “the most disturbing experience” of her college career.
Sanchez wrote that the event’s emcee, Goutham Sundaram, a senior tennis player, made “violent and misogynistic” statements while detailing his “sexual pursuits” at the university while on stage.
On Monday, a spokesperson from the University of Portland released a statement, addressing the incident, acknowledging the ceremony was “marred by shocking and offensive comments” by the emcee.
The statement goes on to say: “We apologize that this has occurred. These offensive statements do not reflect the University of Portland, and they do not reflect our mission… There is no place at the University of Portland for what was said.”
The student who allegedly made the comments also released a statement, through the athletic department.
“I would like to address what happened at the Wally’s last night,” said Sundaram. “I want to apologize for taking away from the focus of the night. The night is meant to celebrate the excellence of student athletes and I would like to apologize if I made any people uncomfortable.”
On campus, the article circulated quickly Monday morning and afternoon.
“I’m sure he meant it as a joke, but it’s not funny. It’s not funny in any way, and it shouldn’t have been allowed to keep going,” said Katie Coughlin, a UP junior.
According to Sanchez’ article, she and several other student athletes walked out of the awards banquet, as did coaches, including men’s basketball coach Terry Porter.
Sanchez said the university’s president, Fr. Mark Poorman, remained seated.
In her article, Sanchez said she felt violated after the experience, and that she left the awards ceremony shaking.
She called Sundaram’s comments “abhorrent.”
The full text of Sanchez’s article can be found at upbeacon.com.
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