According to Ontario's Waterloo Region Record, a Canadian university shut down the school's race car team after a photo of one of its members posing in high heels and a bikini appeared online.
The University of Waterloo's decision to suspend the team means that the students will not be able to enter the car in an international contest to be held in Michigan next month. The team's suspension lasts until June.
The students built and designed the car themselves.
The university's dean of engineering said that the suspension, “results from misuse of the student design centre space for an unauthorized photo shoot involving the Formula SAE vehicle." The school's spokesman, Michael Strickland, called the photograph "inappropriate and denigrating."
Steve Lambert, the team's faculty advisor, said that the students are "very disappointed" to be missing the Michigan contest.
In a statement posted on the team's website, Lambert explained that the bikinied woman posing with the car was doing so for charitable reasons:
One of the bitter ironies of the present situation is that the photo-shoot was intended to promote women. It was part of an entry into a calendar competition to promote University women with a combination of beauty and intelligence, with some of the proceeds directed to the Canadian Cancer Society. While on the one hand it is a very powerful and positive message – that this student felt comfortable enough in our team environment to celebrate her femininity in such a fashion – they failed to fully appreciate the ease with which these photos could be taken out of context.
Though the team was disappointed by this setback, the members are not going to lose track of their goals. As the team management writes on the website: "We will emerge from this with even more passion, more drive and more focus than we had before. We intend to win."