AURORA, N.Y. – With coordination from the Wells College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), more than 150 student-athletes across all of the school’s 15 NCAA Division III varsity sports signed Athlete Ally Pledges across the past two weeks.
By signing the pledge, student-athletes agree to become “Athlete Allies”, persons who take a stand against homophobia and transphobia in sports, carrying the messages of respect, inclusion and equality to their athletic community. Wells student-athletes have joined countless colleges and universities across the country that have taken the pledge. Numerous professional athletes have also supported the cause.
Athlete Ally, a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, focuses on ending homophobia and transphobia in sports by educating allies in the athletic community and empowering them to take a stand. The organization also provides public awareness campaigns, educational programming and tools to foster inclusive sports communities.
“The goals of the Athlete Ally program align strongly with our department’s mission statement and our key philosophies,” said Director of Athletics Michael Borsz. “An equitable, diverse and competitive intercollegiate athletic program is one built on principles of tolerance and acceptance. I am proud that our SAAC officers and the respective team representatives have taken the initiative and made their pledges.”
By signing a pledge sheet, Wells student-athletes agree to do their part in promoting the best of athletics by making all players feel respected on and off of the playing field. Many Wells student-athletes feel that the College has long been known and tolerant of opposing viewpoints and beliefs and that the pledges reaffirm this notion.
“When approached about Athlete Ally, I was extremely excited to discuss these ideas at a SAAC meeting,” explained senior Lindsey Bush (Averill Park, N.Y.), the Vice Chair of SAAC at Wells. “It is essentially a formalization of what I already see from our various teams. I am very proud of the fact that every team has signed this pledge and it’s a great thing to see that we will all be supported and accepted by our peers.”
“Athlete Ally is a great way for Wells to eradicate negative stereotypes from the student-athlete culture,” explained SAAC Chair Emily Middlebrook (Newark, N.Y.), who brought the Athlete Ally program and its philosophies to the SAAC officers at Wells. The positive reactions elicited from the officers along with the SAAC team representatives further proved that the program would be well received.
“I am excited to see not only where the Athlete Ally program takes us, but also how this program builds upon what is already an inclusive atmosphere within athletics,” concluded Middlebrook.
For more information on the Athlete Ally program, click here.