By Marc Rod and Hank Snowdon
The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s and women’s track and field teams have been suspended indefinitely pending an investigation into transgressions committed by team members last weekend.
The investigation is believed to be centered on an incident in which six male athletes — some of them naked — allegedly assaulted a student employee at Pomona College’s Rains Center while stealing a photo off the wall around 9 p.m. last Saturday, according to Claremont Police Department logs and sources told about the episode.
The student who was allegedly assaulted declined to comment on the incident due to ongoing investigations into the matter.
Campus Safety called the CPD for assistance at 9:15 p.m., according to CPD logs, and CPD is investigating the incident. No arrests have been made so far.
During the incident, the six students entered Rains and removed a photo of a runner from the rival Pomona-Pitzer men’s track team from the Rains wall. At least one student “held down [the employee] when he [attempted] to stop them,” according to CPD logs.
The CPD log said the students were running naked throughout the 5C campuses, with Campus Safety in pursuit.
It is unclear whether the students were apprehended Saturday night. Director of Campus Safety Stan Skipworth wrote in an email to TSL Tuesday that “the information in your TSL story yesterday contains the information we have at this point. The colleges are continuing their investigation of the incident.”
CMS Athletic Director Terrance Tumey announced the suspension Monday during a meeting with the teams, according to multiple sources present at the meeting. During the suspension, all 114 athletes are prohibited from practicing, competing, or meeting with coaches until further notice.
“Claremont McKenna College, in cooperation with Harvey Mudd College and Scripps College, is investigating potential violations of policies and codes of conduct by members of the CMS track and field teams. During this time, practices have been canceled,” CMC spokesperson Peter Hong wrote in an email to TSL.
The incident was part of an initiation event for male CMS track and field athletes, sources familiar with the CMS track teams said.
Pomona’s Office of Student Affairs is also investigating the theft at Rains, the allegedly assaulted student said.
“We are supporting our student and we are cooperating with the investigation,” Pomona spokesperson Patricia Vest wrote in an email to TSL.
CMS distance runner coach John Goldhammer declined to comment but addressed his athletes in an email before the meeting Monday: “You’re free to make choices, BUT you’re not free from the consequences.”
The suspension comes just as the CMS track season started rolling. The team competed at the 2018 Tufts Invite Jan. 13, the University of Washington Preview Meet Jan. 13, the Westmont Wake-Up Meet Jan. 27, and an alumni meet Feb. 3.
Some athletes were set to compete at the Howie Ryan Invitational Feb. 9 in Houston, but it is unclear if the suspension will last through this event.
Both the Stags and Athenas won the SCIAC championship in 2017. The Stags have won the title for the past five seasons, and the Athenas have done so for the past three.
This is a developing situation, and this story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Samuel Breslow contributed reporting.