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W&J Student Disenrolled For 'Personally Hurtful' Sign During Women's Basketball Game

WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) - A W&J student was disenrolled for holding up a disrespectful sign during a women's basketball game targeting a player on the opposing team, college officials said Sunday.

In a statement posted to Facebook, W&J Dean Eva Chatterjee-Sutton said the sign held up in the student section was meant to harass and hurt a Westminster player during the women's basketball game on Saturday. The student was immediately removed from the game and as of Sunday, was no longer enrolled at the college, Chatterjee-Sutton said.

The sign held during the game read "10-14-13", the date of a Westminster player's father's death. It's spread like wildfire all over social media.

That player's mom, who was at the game, posted on Facebook saying this isn't the first time something like this has happened. She said the last time her daughter played at W&J, there were a group of boys in the student section yelling "35, where's your dad?" She said she's disgusted they would use the worst day in her daughter's life as a tactic to get into her head.

While acknowledging W&J took action against the student holding the sign and the football coach and athletic director apologized to her daughter, Lucente wrote that she wants accountability for the whole group.

"I will say this to all of you…not just to the person holding the sign. You all contributed to breaking Lindsay's heart all over again. I will pray that you never have to go through the loss that my daughter has suffered. I will pray that you never have to live with the pain she feels on a daily basis. I will pray that through all of this, you all learn a valuable lesson," the player's mother wrote on Facebook.

Some W&J students KDKA's Amy Wadas talked to Monday said they can't believe it either.

"This school's values are raising people of uncommon integrity. Our athletes especially should be showing that," said one W&J student who didn't want to be identified.

Senior Seif Abdrabou says he wasn't at Saturday's game but said he's seen the group of students at W&J women's basketball games before.

"It just violates the spirit of the game. The spirit of having an opponent that is a human being in the end," said Abdrabou.

Before the student was disenrolled, football coach Mike Sirianni said in a statement that he'd been removed from the team and the sign was "inhumane."

Chatterjee-Sutton said the behavior had no place at W&J "and is contrary to our values as an institution." The college is investigating whether others were involved.

"Members of the W&J community, individually and collectively, have extended messages of apology and support to the Westminster student, to the Westminster Women's Basketball team, and to Westminster's college president. We regret this incident, and are working to ensure that no such incident occurs in the future," Chatterjee-Sutton said.

Meanwhile, Westminster College said in part: "We expect our student-athletes to lead with integrity, and we encourage passionate fan participation from both teams, but we do not condone disrespectful or hurtful actions targeted at players. We appreciate W&J's swift response and decisive action in this case."

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