December 7, 2004

To Members of the Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby college communities:

Recent unfortunate events in professional and major college athletics prompt us to remind those who support our teams and players that there is a line between acceptable fan behavior and behavior that is demeaning, vulgar, and unnecessarily provocative.

Athletic rivalries between colleges are as old as college athletics. These rivalries are healthy, exciting, and represent a welcome and memorable part of many contests. We believe the rivalries themselves should continue. We are grateful to and enjoy being part of an energized crowd of loyal sports fans — whether they be students, faculty, staff, alumni, or friends from our local communities — who encourage and support our teams. But when these spirited rivalries degrade into personal attacks on players; when clever chants deteriorate into vulgar displays that offend others, including children, parents and members of the off-campus communities that attend our games; when fan behavior threatens to escalate into violence and compromises the safety of those in attendance, then we become part of an ugly event that demeans us and our colleges.

In the coming weeks, as our athletic contests move from outdoor playing fields to more intimate gymnasiums and arenas, we ask that our sports fans act with an appropriate level of restraint. Enjoy the games with as much intensity as you can muster, but please do so in a spirit of healthy competition and in a manner that reflects the values of our colleges and respects the talents and commitment of our athletes.

Thank you.

Bro Adams - Colby College
Elaine Hansen - Bates College
Barry Mills - Bowdoin College