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EC Athletics to End Relationship with Gordon College over Letter

Photo courtesy of the Emmanuel College Athletic Department. Used with permission.

Photo courtesy of the Emmanuel College Athletic Department. Used with permission.

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

Posted by on February 25, 2015. Filed under Around Campus,Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

22 Responses to EC Athletics to End Relationship with Gordon College over Letter

  1. Britta Fischer

    February 28, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    I am proud of your principled stand on non-discrimination and proud to have been directly associated with Emmanuel for 39 years.
    Britta Fischer,
    Professor of Sociology Emerita

  2. factcheckb4publish

    March 3, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Would the EC Athletics Department need their President’s or Board of Trustee’s approval for this action? Is there a statement confirming this decision from Emmanuel College beyond this article? What is the Archdiocese of Boston reaction to this news? Is Emmanuel College aware that the head of Catholic Charities was also a signature on the July 1st letter to President Obama? If yes, what was Emmanuel’s response to Catholic Charities?

  3. Wintery's friend

    March 13, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    This sounds very discriminatory to me, arbitrarily choosing not to engage another sports team because it’s affiliated with a college that has a lifestyle choice.

    Maybe this is why Emmanuel College is no Ivy League college.

  4. timothy rookey

    March 16, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Bowing to the gay lobby is an abomination for a Catholic college. Emmanuel College should renounce it’s affiliation with the Catholic church since it is acting in direct opposition to the teachings of the Catholic faith regarding sexual ethics.

  5. k goodfellow

    March 16, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Goodness, what a witch hunt !! Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and options whether you like them or not. Gordon College, has the right to their own beliefs…and by the way so doesn’t the Catholic church. Shame on Emmauel College.

  6. concerned Catholic

    March 16, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Discrimination based on religious belief is reprehensible in a country founded on religious freedom. Where is Emmanuel’s tolerance?

  7. Dave Maynard

    March 16, 2015 at 11:03 am

    So EC doesn’t want to play GC because GC supports what’s in the Bible? The Catholic Church also says homosexuality is a sin. How can EC disagree with Catholic Church doctrine?

  8. Joe

    March 16, 2015 at 11:17 am

    This is supposed to be a Catholic College and I can not for the life of me see where they would go against a school that is only upholding their Christian believes. If this is so than this school has no right to call themselves a Catholic school and the church should make it very clear that our values should never be removed from our places of learning.

    • Cole Jordan

      March 17, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      As it is written; “There will be a “great falling away” in the last days. Is it not apparent that many in this generation have become deceived by blind teachers? It matters not at all if men demand that all people embrace or support the sin of homosexuality! They are not in authority among you, for your lives are a gift of a loving and holy God. It is what He declares that most assuredly must be the measuring stick whereby we live our lives daily.If you are truly the elect of the living God, then you know that what I have said is true. To permit the love of strange flesh to abide within any man or woman is to invite destruction.

      Emmanuel College is merely taking a stance which our holy Lord Jesus Christ would not sanction. Yet, was it not said by Him that in that day there shall be many who come to him and say Lord Lord have I not cast out demons in thy name, and prayed for the healing of the sick in your name, etc., etc.? And He declared that He will turn to them and say; Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you!

      No “religion” will save you, people! No performance of mans religious traditions will bring you into eternal life! The burning of incense and making long boring prayers spoken in Latin will not bring any individual closer to the living God. You can pray to Mary, St. Peter, St. James, and all of the rest of the Apostles, and take your supplications to a mortal man who is a priest or a man you call “father”, but to no avail!

      For the Word of God clearly details the fact that we, the elect of Christ, have only one advocate before our heavenly father, one high priest, and that is our Lord Jesus Christ. If you have the Son, then you have life eternal. If you have not the Son, you hath not life! HE must abide within you, the believer. His Spirit must abide within you! Each believe must, by his very nature, emulate Christ. He is our perfect blood sacrifice, no more is needed from anyone. HE did it all, for he died upon a tree for us, was buried and on the third day was risen from the dead, seen of over 530 living souls, alive.

      Salvation is a free gift to all who believe. You can not work for your own salvation. You can not buy your salvation! Those who call evil good and good evil shall surely be led into destruction because they are spiritually blind. Even of these kinds will the truly redeemed of the Lamb of God be put to death, while all the time they will blindly think that they do their god a service! Beware, all who read this, for great evil walks among you all and among them are deceivers of your soul. Beware lest you be carried away of your own lusts and arrogance and be counted a cast-a-way in these last days.

  9. Ron Delio

    March 16, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I was born and raised Catholic and even spent 1 year in Catholic seminary and I recall that according to Holy scripture, homosexuality is still a sin in God’s eyes. Did the athletic director forget this facet of the faith or is she another wolf in sheep’s clothing amongst the flock? I applaud Gordon, for holding to its standards. More Christian schools (including Emmanuel) should be following suit.

  10. John

    March 16, 2015 at 11:57 am

    And this is supposed to be a CATHOLIC college?? I’m beginning to doubt my birth faith….ND, Marquette, who’s next?

    • timothy rookey

      March 16, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      I agree with the comments posted here today. Catholic colleges should adhere to the teachings of the Church or the bishop over them should remove their Catholic affiliation. Emmanuel is no more Catholic than the man in the moon by the way they are acting.

  11. Tom & Marilyn Hartigan

    March 16, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Shame, shame, shame on Emmanuel College!!! And if Emmanuel College administrators go along with the athletic director’s decision, shame on them too!!! In this instance Gordon College is more truly Catholic than Emmanuel is.

  12. Craig DJ

    March 16, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Has Ms. Roecker never heard of St. Thomas Aquinas? Maybe she ought to do a little reading before deciding she knows what proper Catholic doctrine is. And the Bible wouldn’t hurt either, but let’s not get radical or anything.

  13. notoliberals

    March 17, 2015 at 2:55 am

    A true Catholic does not support homosexual acts. I am ashamed of Emmanuel College.

  14. Kirk Johnson

    March 17, 2015 at 3:13 am

    It looks like there is some apostasy from the faith. As told in the Bible; there will be a great falling away from the Truth.
    Is it just this athletic director Pam Roecker, or is the President or Board of Trustees in agreement ??
    There needs to be a public statement from higher than the Athletic Director. Many true believers will not support this decision.

  15. Aristophanes

    March 17, 2015 at 9:48 am

    I guess emmanuel college is no longer a catholic (i.e., Christian) school. To stop competing with a college that is adhering to the Bible makes me wonder about the catholic church. Also, having heard some of the comments by their pope has made me wonder about the catholic church. If the catholic church is trying to chase away Christians who believe in the Bible, this school is doing a great job. I worry about Christianity when so-called Christians are supporting something (homosexuality) that the Bible says is an abomination. Please read and adhere to the Bible!

  16. Jean Goad

    March 18, 2015 at 8:28 am

    I agree with the majority of comments here. Emmanuel College is not acting like a Catholic college, not adhearing to Catholic teaching, and I would never send any of my children there for a Catholic education.

  17. Phil Barone

    April 9, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Interesting that the only comment so far supporting the move is from a Professor. Perhaps that offers some insight as to the type of “education” the students at Emmanuel receive.

  18. Jack

    April 11, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Parents of Emmanuel College athletes should be pressuring the athletic director to reinstate Gordon. Athletes at the College should threaten to sit out if they don’t reinstate Gordon. It is the PEOPLE that need to stand up against the homofascist agenda.

  19. Zach

    May 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    The Bible condones slavery. Also says you shouldn’t eat pork. Not exactly lining up with life in 2015.

    I really don’t think the Good Book was intended for literal interpretation. Re. homosexuality – if everyone was a homosexual, the human race would end, which is what the passage is really about. The Bible should be a basis for morals, not an unfiltered, literal instruction guide to living your life. Use some common sense! Glad for Emmanuel in their decision to end competition with Gordon.

    • Dave Maynard

      May 6, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      Zach….you show your ignorance of the Bible when you say it condones slavery and that we shouldn’t eat pork. You must not be aware that Jesus did away with all the Israel dietary laws. You must not also be aware of the different genre’s of Bible literature. Narrative & didactic is to be interpreted literally but poetry is not always literal. Even in narrative & didactic, there are figures of speech like hyperbole. Please show me where the Bible CONDONES slavery. And what kind of slavery do you think it condones? The 1850’s southern American type or the indentured servitude type or the employer/employee type? There were all 3 in ancient times. There are many things that the Old Testament regulated without ever approving of them. Slavery was one of those things. Please use common sense but also get educated on the Bible.