On June 23, in conjunction with Villanova Athletic Director Mark Jackson, the University announced via email that incoming women’s soccer graduate transfer, Jessica Harvey, will not be attending the University.
A screenshot of racist messages in a GroupMe chat that Harvey was in had surfaced last week, and many throughout the Villanova community, including students, student-athletes and alumni voiced their concern with Harvey potentially enrolling at Villanova for the upcoming season and academic year. Following the outcry from many via social media including @blackvillanova on Instagram, the University and released an official statement concerning Harvey’s enrollment:
“The University researched the situation and had multiple conversations with the student and her family,” a University rep said. “She will not be attending Villanova.”
Last week, on June 17, @blackvillanova was created as “a platform for Villanova students, alumni and faculty to learn the raw reality of being Black and a POC (person of color) at Villanova. With more than 160 posts and counting, the page has gained more than 5,000 followers in its six days of existence.
Black people and POC within the Villanova community can submit their stories to @blackvillanova anonymously or with their names attached to it in order to help others within the University. It has also been used as a page that allows incoming Villanova students of color in the Class of 2024 to get real testimonials from others about their college experience.
@blackvillanova was the first page on social media to expose the racist messages sent in the group that Harvey was in. In an anonymous submission on the page, a statement was released about the messages that had surfaced.
“Black and White Villanovan’s, past and present, are calling on our Athletics and Graduate Academic Administration to take swift and immediate action to openly condemn and rescind the admission, scholarship and women’s soccer team membership of Jessie Harvey. On June 16, 2020, Athletics administration was made aware of Harvey’s participation in this dialogue not only violates Villanova’s Athlete Code of Conduct but puts other Black Villanova athletes at risk.
It is a privilege to wear the Villanova uniform. Harvey lost that privilege when she actively chose to participate in racist exchanges. Villanova’s longstanding tradition of excellence, on and off the field, is in jeopardy. We do not tolerate hate speech, and the pervasive attitude that Harvey displayed in this exchange is not welcome on our campus.
For the Black athletes who have poured their heart and soul into performing and caring for the Villanova uniform and athletics tradition, it is unthinkable that Harvey would also get to wear this uniform. Right now, Villanova Administration has a choice. They can choose to be merely not racist by simply condemning Harvey, or they can choose to be actively anti-racist by taking a definitive stance. We are hopeful that Villanova decides to come down on the right side of history and rescind Harvey’s admission and scholarship in a decision that will change the trajectory of Villanova Athletics.”