The Reckoning That Never Happened

Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2021

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Communication and Digital Studies

Department Chair or Program Director

Rao, Anand

First Advisor

Subramanian, Sushma

Major or Concentration

Communication and Digital Studies


Five years after the UMW men’s rugby team was suspended for a violent and misogynistic chant, I am writing about whether the school has fully reckoned with the rugby team’s culture of sexual hostility. The school has mandated sexual harassment training for all athletes, hired a Title IX expert, and settled a lawsuit with Feminists United Club, which sued the school in 2015 for failing to protect members from more than 700 harassing messages over the anonymous app Yik Yak. The club was met with violent rape and death threats following their criticism of the rugby team’s chant. But, as a student, I am still warned to avoid rugby parties – I think that the toxic culture that existed five years ago has not entirely disappeared, and the school seems more focused on polishing its reputation instead of holding an open dialogue about what happened.

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