USEF Rescinds Judge and Steward Licenses for Improper Public-Facing Social Media Comments

Photo © Carly Nasznic

BY THE PLAID HORSE STAFF

USEF judge and steward, Peggy Fackrell, has had her licenses rescinded for violating the Social Media and Ethics policy, as announced in the official press release. Fackrell’s improper public-facing social media posts and comments related to USEF Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Action Plan were the reason for the ruling.

“Based on the evidence, the Hearing Committee ruled unanimously that Mrs. Fackrell sent offensive and inappropriate emails to the USEF President, CEO, and Staff. The Hearing Committee found that Mrs. Fackrell can hold or express a different opinion and question an initiative of the Federation, but the manner in which Mrs. Fackrell chose to express her opinions and question the DEI initiative resulted in these violations.”

The hearing committee panel ruled unanimously that Mrs. Fackrell violated the Social Media Policy, which requires individuals act in a “positive and professional” manner that reflects “integrity, character, and respect for the sport and USEF.” Social posts and comments deemed “improper, unethical, dishonest, unsportsmanlike or intemperate, or prejudicial to the best interests of the sport and the Federation” are grounds for review.

Outside of social media, The Plaid Horse publisher, Piper Klemm, has had interactions with Mrs. Fackrell that we consider unacceptable when it comes to inclusivity and promoting our sport. “On the telephone to me regarding the incident, [Fackrell] said the n-word in full and told me it was regularly said by USEF judges and stewards while working in official positions,” Klemm explains.

Fackrell’s content in question includes a Facebook post from April, 25th 2021 that compares SafeSport to brainwashing and accuses Diversity & Inclusion initiatives as going too far.

Reported in the press release, “The Hearing Committee found in Mrs. Fackrell favor that she was evidently unskilled in social media interactions which contributed to her blundering into public facing communications when she thought she was communicating with a more supportive group. However, her public facing comments were inappropriate for a Licensed Official, and her comments directed to the USEF Officers and Staff were unnecessarily abrasive and rude.”

Klemm acknowledges the actions taken to revoke Mrs. Fackrell’s position with USEF is a positive one, “This was the opportunity for them to really enforce a statement on values, not just on decorum.” But Klemm also acknowledges we still have a ways to go with situations like this. “I’m glad there were sanctions at all, but after such a protracted process, USEF needs to do more to protect the subsets of membership they claim to want to grow. Mrs. Fackrell’s words and actions were a quite painful reminder of how many people do not feel welcome in this sport,” she adds.

Mrs. Fackrell’s current judging and stewarding licenses will be rescinded beginning September 1st, 2021 through November 1st, 2022.