Being a captain of this team was one of the great privileges of my life and I will stop at nothing to ensure others are given the same opportunities as mine. Track and Field recruitment was the ONLY reason any Ivy League institution gave me the indication I had the right or opportunity to be there, and I know this story is true for many of my teammates. Being a part of the Track and Field program at Brown profoundly shaped me as a woman, leader, athlete, student and advocate. Through the Excellence at Brown initiative, the institution has shown its lack of care for its student athletes and its frail values by eliminating one of the most diverse teams on campus and instead accepting more individuals who have been told they have a right to an Ivy League education their entire lives.

Throughout my career as a heptathlete I rarely had a training partner. Rather, I had the unique honor of training with almost every event group on the team. This was a blessing of unimaginable proportion. It provided me support from all directions and the opportunity to return it, friends of various backgrounds and intellectual dispositions, and a true understanding of the breadth of excellence this team exhibits. Excellence in traditional senses—in the classroom and on the track—but more importantly, excellence in untraditional senses—in character and determination, wit and friendship, and in inclusivity and empathy. An excellence matched only by the coaching staff with which we have the privilege to share our trials and triumphs.

I support my teammates and track alumni in saying “We will not stand for this decision; we will not remain idle while Brown eliminates opportunities for low income students and students of color; and we will not condone institutional decisions made with zero forethought for human impact and student well-being.” No team is better at fighting as one, having each other’s backs, and being heard. The Brown Track and Field team supported me to the highest level of collegiate athletics as well as in my lowest moments. Track practice was a safe space for many to share their true identities, to laugh, to cry, to find camaraderie, and to run off the stresses of life. I will not rest until this program is restored and with it, opportunities for other students with stories similar to and different than mine.

I am devastated to watch individuals in the Brown Athletic Department and Administration carry out this decision in such a way that actively harms my teammate’s welfare when their lives have already been turned on end in recent months. Student well-being was a non-factor in the callous “data-driven” calculations made by this administration and the support being provided to athletes affected by this decision is practically non-existent. The message that Brown is sending is that they value the experience, opportunities, lives, and well-being of students from diverse backgrounds and students of color less than others. It is extremely difficult to watch my friends grieve for victims of police brutality occurring in this country while being devalued and blindsided by an institution that promised them so much and that they have given so much to.

My athletic success stands on the shoulders of the Brown men and women who came before me, and my male and female teammates whose support lifted me to the highest levels of collegiate track and field. First I wanted to be a Heps champ—Zac Emrich and Mo Akande were my example; I wanted to qualify for Nationals—O’sha Williams, Danae De’Journett, and Evan Weinstock paved the way; and when I wanted to break an Ivy League record—Ryan Laudermilk, Jason Katz, and Zion Lewis screamed their lungs out to get me there. I can only hope that my efforts inspired individuals sure to be the next generation of national caliber athletes from this program such as Cam Daly, Ijeoma Uche and Bretram Rogers. Unfortunately, for some of these athletes, we may be left guessing what could have been.

The decision made in the Excellence at Brown initiative lays bare the lack of attention paid to the Track and Field Program by the administration and athletic department. We are more a family than a team. Cutting the men’s program is a massive blow to diversity and inclusion at Brown, and all but a death sentence for a women’s program that is one of Brown’s most competitive teams on the national level. You have always expected so much of us, and time after time we have delivered. We are learning to expect less and less of you.