University of Mary Washington Men's Rugby Team Suspended Over 'Lurid' Chant

by Elisha Fieldstadt /  / Updated  / Source: NBC News

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The men's rugby team at Virginia's University of Mary Washington had its activities suspended after several members were allegedly heard chanting "sexually explicit, derogatory, and violent" lyrics in an audio recording, according to the school.

In an email sent to the university's staff and students on March 19, the school's president, Rick Hurley, said the "offensive and lurid" chant sung by members of the men's rugby team at an off-campus party at the end of last year started circulating on social media, prompting the school to take disciplinary actions against the team.

A spokesman for the school, Marty Morrison, said the posts were in the form of an audio recording, which the school will not release.

The team, nicknamed "Mother's Rugby," appealed the sanctions, but the school ruled on March 18 that all rugby club activities were suspended "indefinitely," Hurley's email said. Each member of the team must also attend "sensitivity training sessions," the email said.

"No student on our campus should feel unsafe, ostracized, or threatened," Hurley wrote. "We pride ourselves on being a diverse, accepting, caring community, and we must live up to that ideal."

NBC News reached out to the head coach, director and club president of school's men's rugby team. A man who called back only identified himself as a club volunteer and alumnus but refused to identify himself further. He said the event where the chant was sung was not an official team event and only eight members of the team were in Virginia during the event.

He also referred to a March 23 article on the website Jezebel about the incident, which he said the largely team backs up.

The head coach, Bill Brownley, later replied saying he couldn't comment on the issue but also referred to the Jezebel article.

Meanwhile, a post on the team's Facebook page said, "our culture is rock solid, one mistake by a few members is regrettable, years of good deeds are unforgettable." The team has also posted a link on its Facebook page to a GoFundMe account created to "help preserve and promote Mother's Rugby."

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