May 11, 2019

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘Two Cornell Softball Players Dismissed From Team Day After 2019 Season Ends’

Print More

To the editor:

Parents, family and friends are deeply concerned about the conduct of Coach Julie Farlow ’97 and the culture she has created at Cornell softball. On the day after The Sun’s article was published, two team players were dismissed by Coach Farlow and another player quit the team.

The players were called individually into meetings with Coach Farlow, two additional coaches and one individual from the Director of Athletics Office and informed they were being kicked off the team. What an incredible abuse of power imbalance through intimidation and domination — so many adults to a single player.

Once injured, players are shunned, blamed and shamed publicly. Coach Farlow or her assistants do not follow-up with the players to check on their progress, offer encouragement or inspiration. They do not demonstrate coach-like behaviors.

It is important to note that one player who was kicked off of the team had the courage to confront Coach Farlow some weeks ago to convey player concerns about the abrasive and abusive culture with the team players by Coach Farlow. She went alone for the conversation with the intention of raising concerns calmly and respectively and being a part of a solution to fixing the team’s dynamics. (NOTE: Other players chose not to participate in the meeting out of fear of retaliation.) The result: Coach Farlow chose to publicly shame and blame the player on the field by reading a prepared memo prior to a game.

The actions of Coach Farlow are vindictive and retaliatory. Her conduct is in direct violation of Cornell’s Code of Conduct. Donors, parents, students, friends and others are watching this situation. What is the right thing to do to create a positive softball culture at Cornell for these amazing young women athletes?

What will Cornell Administration do to ameliorate this? Will Cornell administrators stand for student dignity, respect and the right to an engaging college experience?

Rachel Schaming, grandmother of a Cornell women’s softball player