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There have been a lot of strong emotions after this Wally Awards ceremony Sunday night. I don’t want to take away from this response because we have a right to be angry, upset, and saddened about what happened. In fact, I am glad that so many people are angry, upset, and saddened by what happened Sunday night, because if we were okay with it, then we would have way more work to do. The problem is that when we get so angry at one person, we fail to see how our own actions have led to something like this happening. And that means we aren’t doing the work to make sure this never happens again.
This past weekend, I was excited to return to Portland. I had spent the weekend in Mobile, Alabama, as Assistant Coach of the UP Bioethics Bowl team and we were bringing home a 1st place National Championship trophy. The Bioethics Bowl team experience was one of my favorite parts of my experience at UP, and it has been an honor to coach the team this year and watch them compete via discussions that were often rooted in social justice, the recognition of social oppression, and moral sensitivity.
As a parent of a UP senior I have an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have read the articles and responses to the appalling remarks made by the emcee at the Wally awards. I expected that these last few weeks before graduation were going to be filled with bitter sweet moments, stress over finals, excitement for the future, but never with a slap in the face that disrespect towards women can grab a microphone at UP and not once, but multiple times objectify us. One remark after another he spewed out. Leadership remained seated. Where was the defense of the dignity of every person who was in that room? Is that not what the UP mission statement promises? Apologies for what occurred, but not for the lack of action.
As a former student at the University of Portland, OR, I’m ashamed to say that the few times it has landed in national news is because of a hateful, misogynistic speech at the Wally Awards – a yearly awards ceremony to celebrate the hard work that the University’s athletes had put it throughout the year. This year, however, it was tainted by the insensitive rhetoric given by the evening’s emcee, Goutham Sundaram.
On the morning of Tuesday, April 17, I submitted an op-ed to The Beacon regarding the Wally Awards incident. Late in the afternoon, before the op-ed was published, Fr. Poorman sent out a second update to the campus community, one that begins to address some of the issues I raised in my piece. In order to do justice to the information we had when I set fingers to keys, however, I’ve decided to go forward with the original op-ed, unaltered, which follows:
First let me say that I am in no defense of Goutham Sundara's speech, and I beg that the community does not label me as someone on a "side". I am a woman of color on the track team (yes, the school has a track team, even if the Wally's never recognized it), so this speech was the most offended I'd been in awhile. However, I am not writing this to talk about how it hurt me personally. I personally don't believe that Olivia Sanchez's opinion piece was a broad enough perspective to represent the evening, and especially not enough to enrage an entire campus, many of which, never even heard the speech they are so enraged about.
Like many current students, staff, parents of students and alumni, I was shocked and horrified as I read Olivia' Sanchez' brave and heart-wrenching op-ed describing the so-called entertainment of Goutham Sundaram. As I read her description of his hateful words, I felt the bitter taste of having those words also said about me, as my husband is Mexican.
Last night, a University of Portland student athlete opened the University's annual athletics award banquet, the Wally awards, with a diatribe filled with vile misogynistic comments. His words were unacceptable. His words are a stain on our University and our fellow students. Not only were these remarks incredibly offensive, but they also came at a time when just last week there were efforts around campus to spark conversation and education through a Sexual Assault Week of Awareness. Last week the students of this University showed where their values lie. Last night, those values and the mission of our University were undermined. In line with Green Dot, our University’s anti-violence initiative, everyone who live, learn, and work on this bluff are committed to a community free of power-based personal violence.
Dear University of Portland community,
Having read the article by Olivia Sanchez about the outrageous behavior of emcee Goutham Sundaram at the recent Wally Awards, I felt compelled to respond. As the parent of a UP women's tennis player who graduated from UP in 2016 and as a consultant in the area of sport psychology, I found the account nauseating and infuriating.
This past Sunday, the University of Portland Athletic Department and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) held the fifth annual Wallys. The event honored and recognized the accomplishments of the teams, student-athletes and Athletics staff throughout the 2017-18 season, with the majority of nominees and award winners being presented by the student-athletes themselves.
Tennis player Goutham Sundaram, the controversial emcee of Sunday night's athlete banquet known as the Wally Awards, has been removed from the tennis roster.
My name is Olivia Sanchez, and I am a senior at the University of Portland. I have been a student-athlete on The Bluff for three years, and in less than three weeks, I will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Last night, Sunday, April 15, I had the most disturbing experience of my time here during the Athletic Department’s fifth annual Wally Awards.
I love movies. Ever since I was in the fourth grade, my dream has been to make movies. It started with simply wanting to put videos on YouTube. My 10-year-old self made a channel titled BlazersAreAwesome — a name I regret to this day since I can’t put my page’s URL in my Instagram bio without being just a little bit embarrassed.
I have a lot of respect for the art of the romantic comedy, or the rom-com. Name a rom-com, and I’ve probably seen it. I’m a sucker for a good meet-cute, and I could watch Heath Ledger sing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” anytime, anywhere.
The opinion submission, “From an Unapologetic Hawaiian,” created an opportunity for critical conversation: the intercultural discussion of how cultural appropriation can occur in the absence of sociopolitical and historical context. While the University of Portland has hosted events originating from various cultures, as the article states, not all have effectively incorporated marginalized voices.
In the opinion submission, “From an Unapologetic Hawaiian,” our fellow student, Kilohana, expresses their desire for intercultural dialogue, and the inclusion of marginalized voices in cultural events.
The Pilots returned to Joe Etzel Field on Thursday night to take on WCC rival Brigham Young University. This game came on the heels of the Pilots' big win in Eugene against the Ducks earlier this week. Momentum carried into tonight’s game as the Pilots rallied in a close game to take the win by a margin of 4-3.
It’s probably safe to say that Franz Hall is the last place students want to be on a Saturday afternoon. But an event taking place this Saturday is worth attending if you’re into photography, videography, social media marketing or any other creative pursuit in the digital multimedia world.