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
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.