The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

An open letter to the Grinnell College campus community

I am Jeff Pedersen, Interim Head Football coach and Interim Head Women’s Track coach here at Grinnell. I am a 2002 graduate of Grinnell and my wife is a 2001 graduate. Both of us loved our time here as students, and have returned here to work and to raise our growing family. As you all know, a very disturbing incident took place this past weekend; an incident involving a number of football players. I am deeply sorry for the pain, hurt and concern felt by many of the women on or connected with this campus as a result of this incident. I am still not fully aware of the extent of what was written about some of these women, or who was written about, but suffice it to say I am close to many of them and it is difficult to see what they are going through.

The main point of this letter is not to talk about what happened, which is a matter for campus judicial processes, but rather to talk about how we can move forward from this. I have always wanted to be a coach that places as much priority on developing intelligent and thoughtful men and women as I do on developing a successful team on the field or the track. Even though the incident was not limited to football players, nor was every player on the team present, we are prepared to move forward as a team to face up to this matter. We can not undo the damage that was done, but we will move forward, striving to be an asset on this campus, not a detriment to it. We want to be the embodiment of this school’s ideals, not the exceptions.

We are prepared to take the necessary steps to accomplish these things, beginning with accepting whatever punishment is handed down from the College Hearing Board, as well as any ramifications for the team. The first step is to better educate ourselves on a variety of issues pertinent to this campus. I would like to work together with several groups on campus, including the Offices of Student Affairs and Diversity and Achievement, DVA/SAC, and the Gender and Women’s Studies department to develop a series of educational programs for the team next fall. This will become a regular part of our pre-season practices and meetings and an addition to the NSO programs. The football team will also work with DVA/SAC to determine an appropriate group to perform service projects for next fall and in the foreseeable future.

The next, and perhaps most important step, is to help foster dialogue on this campus. I believe we will better understand the ramifications of the incident by speaking openly with our fellow students and colleagues. I believe we will learn more by speaking openly with members of all different campus communities, and I want to be a leader in this. I would like every member of this campus to know that I am more than willing to speak with them about this incident or about the best ways to move forward. My office is located in the Fitness Center, my phone extension is x3824, and my email address is Contact me at any time.

Once again, I am truly sorry for the pain caused by this incident, and sincerely hope we can move forward and create a stronger, more unified campus.

Thank you.

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