UC Davis women's lacrosse apologizes for senior photo featuring stereotypical costumes

The UC Davis Women’s Lacrosse team is in hot water with Latino and Chicano students after a photo surfaced showing senior members of the team dressed for Halloween in stereotypical clothing.

The photo of the seniors dressed in plaid shirts, bandanas, and baggy jeans was posted on a team member’s Facebook wall, and was intended as a play on the word “senior.” The UC Davis student paper, The California Aggie, reported that the photo has resulted in backlash from across campus, as students condemned the alleged cultural appropriations and offensive nature of the photo.

Interim Athletics Director Teresa Gould told Aggie that the athletics department immediately took action.

“I met with the entire women’s lacrosse team, and they immediately responded by issuing a letter of apology, as did I,” Gould said. “Our focus moving forward is education.”

“UC Davis Athletics deeply regrets the culturally insensitive and inappropriate photo that was posted by members of our women’s lacrosse team. The lack of sensitivity shown by this group of students does not represent the values we embrace within Intercollegiate Athletics and the respect we have for our peers on this campus,” Gould’s public apology, which was forwarded to Campus Reform, said.

“As student-athletes, these young adults are leaders in the community who are expected to be role models and uphold the Principles of Community that make this institution so special. The behavior exhibited by this group of student-athletes is not consistent with the spirit of acceptance and support included in these Principles and the environment of respect that we have worked so hard on this campus to create.”

The apology also listed steps the Athletics Department would be taking: working with Student Affairs, to “implement department-wide education addressing awareness for cross-cultural, diversity and inclusion issues.” The Athletics Department will also designate an intercollegiate athletics staff member to serve as a leader for diversity initiatives.

The lacrosse team’s apology, given to the Aggie, gives some more context surrounding the photo.

“As members of the UC Davis women’s lacrosse team, we are deeply sorry for our inappropriate actions. We had innocent intentions with our Halloween attire and the primary objective was a play on words with “seniors” for the senior class.”

The apology went on to promise that the team members “will be more conscious of [their] actions and how they affect others.”

Student groups crafted a letter to UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi-Tseregounis in the photo’s wake, listing their grievances and demands for change in university policy.

The letter argued that students who participate in future events that are deemed offensive to minorities should be warned of the consequences of doing so and that apologies were no longer acceptable.

The student groups closed the letter by threatening that if the University does not address their concerns, they would seek results from outside sources.

Campus Reform reached out to two of the prominent hispanic clubs at UC Davis, MEChA and SACNAS, which signed onto the letter. Campus Reform received no response at time of publication.

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