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The Emmanuel College men’s lacrosse team will walk off the field at Gordon College’s Brigham Athletic Complex for the final time Wednesday after its game against the Fighting Scots. Not only is it the final time that the lacrosse team will battle Gordon, but it is the last time that any Emmanuel athletic team will compete against the Christian college located approximately 30 miles north of Boston.
On July 1, 2014, Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay was one of 14 religious leaders to sign a letter to President Barack Obama regarding an order that would bar federal contractors from discrimination in hiring practice on the basis of sexual orientation. In the letter, the group requested that an exception be made on a religious basis.
Shortly after word of this letter became public, Emmanuel athletic director Pam Roecker decided that following the 2014-2015 academic year, Emmanuel would no longer compete against Gordon College in any sport.
“The foundation of everything (in Emmanuel athletics) is based on fair and equitable treatment,” said Roecker, citing the athletic department’s mission statement.
A follow-up letter from Lindsay addressed to the Gordon College Community was posted on the college’s website a few days after the original letter that said the messages in the letter had been misconstrued and that the college’s positions regarding admission and employment had not changed.
Despite this letter, Roecker still thought it was the right thing to do to end Emmanuel athletics’ association with Gordon, as it goes against the mission of Emmanuel. “They have the right to do whatever they feel is right for their institution,” she said. “We just didn’t feel that this aligned with the mission of our college.”
Since Gordon is a non-conference opponent, Emmanuel is not required to play the college regularly in any sport. Contractual obligations from before the letter forced both a men’s basketball preseason scrimmage against Gordon, which was played on November 8, and Wednesday’s men’s lacrosse game to go on as scheduled, but the contracts will not be renewed moving forward.
According to Roecker, the decision to end Emmanuel’s affiliation with Gordon was an easy one and was met without resistance in the athletic office. “There are plenty of other schools to play,” she said.
Wednesday’s game at Gordon is Emmanuel men’s lacrosse season opener, with face-off scheduled for 4 p.m. The Saints return to Boston for a home game on Saturday at 11 a.m. against Plymouth State University at Lasell College.
Curtis Fraser ’16 is the sports editor for The Hub. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.