March 1, 2019 at 2:59 pm #25051DC Tri Club PresidentParticipant
Hello fellow club members. We are taking a break from the regular “The President responds…” post this week to focus on something that has been brought to my attention that needs to be addressed. I suppose, in some way, this could still be an indirect response to some of the comments left in the survey. More point of fact though, this is a direct response to emails that were sent to me and statements made to me when I was pulled aside at various club activities to make me aware of this situation.
I joined the DC Triathlon Club back in 2008 with the New Triathlete Program. I was a super shy, bespectacled, skinny follower who never expected to be a fast triathlete or to be a guiding voice in the club. I especially never thought I would end up leading a team of elite level amateur triathletes nor that I would be the formal leader of the DC Triathlon Club (aka “da’ Prez”) though I am still skinny. But throughout my years as a member of this club, I found not only my voice and confidence and speed, but I also found a very welcoming atmosphere and made many life-long friends. That atmosphere and those friends are what have kept me around the club for over a decade still excited about triathlon and still enthusiastic about being a part of this club.
That is why when I became aware that a large segment of the club is being made to feel uncomfortable and are losing interest in coming to club athletic or social activities because of this environment, then I felt the need to step up and say something. Over the past month and from several separate voices, I was made aware that many of the women in the club are being subjected to persistent, unwanted communications from men in the club. I wasn’t sure how best to address the issue, as I don’t really have any training in this. I’m a scientist by day so I sit in a lab and do experiments and analyze data and avoid people as much as possible. But the emails and the statements made to me necessitate that I say something.
The DC Triathlon Club is meant to be a friendly and hassle free setting where people can come together to train, to socialize, and to race because we all have a common love of and interest in triathlon/multisport. When that environment is threatened by unwanted advances or dogged personal messaging about getting together (either socially or athletically), then that creates a hostile environment that goes against everything that this Club is about. The leadership of this Club has always strived to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for our members. We have developed a Code of Ethics and Conduct that we expect ALL of our members to uphold. This code does not just cover behavior on the racecourse like cheating or substance abuse, or proper etiquette while training like smart and safe riding behavior, but it also encompasses how our members should treat and respect each other.
Incessant messaging and unwanted advances toward another member of the club are inappropriate behaviors for our members to be engaged in and goes entirely against the code of conduct by which we expect our members to abide. While there have been many successful marriages between people who have met through the Club, our primary purpose is not to be a dating service. We do not discourage people from looking for mates or dates, but when a negative response is given then that response needs to be respected and a boundary has been set which should no longer be crossed. Persistent contact and invitations to meet after that negative response are not appropriate and violate the Code of Ethics and Conducts which our members are expected to uphold.
Enough voices have come to me saying that women in the Club are experiencing this and that they are starting to feel uncomfortable attending Club related events and activities, and that really bothers me to hear. Not respecting these boundaries creates a hostile and unwelcoming environment and that’s not what this Club was founded on or the type of Club that I want to lead. Everyone should be welcome at any of our events or activities without fear of unwanted attention or advances. I am no expert in the dating world (VERY VERY FAR from it), but I do understand where boundaries are and when they have been set. Guys in the club: please respect the women in the club, and when they have made their thoughts clear, please respect them enough to accept their decision and not continually push limits.
If anyone feels that there is an uncomfortable environment arising within the Club or you are receiving unwanted communications from other club members (not spam email, I can’t help with that), please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or any of the Club officers. This should be a friendly and welcoming environment for all club members.
President | DC Triathlon Club
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgMarch 1, 2019 at 6:06 pm #25052hoyamargParticipant
Thank you Bryan! It takes a lot of courage to bring forth the uncomfortable in the hopes of making things right. There’s a place for everyone in DC Tri Club!March 1, 2019 at 7:17 pm #25055laurenlaughsParticipant
Great and very honest post. I would add that if any woman feels she needs an ally or advocate or someone to listen, please feel free to reach out to me! My FB messenger inbox is always open, whether you know me or not (yet).
And to any men reading this who might want context, this article isn’t perfect but provides some good perspective on this topic.March 28, 2019 at 11:21 am #25654Jeff HalperParticipant
Found this after seeing Bryan mention it in this week’s newsletter. I just wanted to add that if you witness inappropriate behavior, please be that guy (or girl) and say something. You can introduce yourself, change the subject, make a joke, be direct, whatever; it doesn’t have to be confrontational. But take the chance to defuse the situation and make sure that your fellow club member isn’t left alone and in a bad spot.