I don't honestly know if I am behind with this video, but it's actually hilarious, so who cares.


Anonymous said...

We are all obviously aware that the college has been severely affected by the financial crisis and must make some difficult decisions. We have recently been informed that the rowing team is being cut and that the decision has been made with no consultation from any members of the team. Our coach and administrators have been discussing at length the restructuring of the program and have cut us from the program. Athletic director Sharon Beverly and Dean Rachel Kitzinger have scheduled a meeting with us under the pretenses that we would be able to discuss the future of the sport and do not expect us to know that they have already made a final decision. They have, however, already shared their plans and given an interview to a Miscellany News article that is being published in tomorrow's paper, though they did have the foresight to have the Misc be distributed after our meeting so we would be the "first to know." This is inappropriate and outrageous. The athletics department should have been transparent in their decision making process, and in deciding not to share their thoughts with us, they should have at least had the decency and courtesy to share their decision with those affected by it before sharing with the campus.

From tomorrow's Misc:
"... the College wanted to change one varsity team to a club team rather than try to reduce spending all across the department, since such sweeping cutbacks would take too great a toll on the department. “In Athletics, I think we felt that we didn’t want to undermine the way we do support all our teams,” said Kitzinger, “and we have for some years felt as if we have been trying to run too many varsity teams—we have 25 and then we have the two rugby teams as well.”

It makes no sense to entirely undermine one program than to take a little from every program. A responsible athletics department must maintain to the best of its ability the stability of its entire program during hard times. Couldn't every team agree that it would be better to compete in one or two less games than to eliminate an entire varsity sport?

From the Misc:
"When asked why students weren’t consulted in this particular decision, Kitzinger responded, saying that in away they were, involvement and retention in each sport were heavily considered. “As with the curriculum,” she noted, “I do feel that the students let their opinions be known by their participation in the sport, as they do with their participation in departments.”"

It is unfair to use people who have decided not to continue rowing as an indicator of our program being unimportant without talking to current athletes. Though we do get many rowers joining for only one year or only one semester, there is a dedicated group of rowers who are committed to moving boats fast and making the program great, and we fill a complete roster. A quick look at any varsity rowing program in the country (including Ivy League and other DI schools) will show the same trend of a large group joining, deciding it isn't for them, and leaving the team. Also, it is not common for someone to quit the rowing team to choose another sport; ours is unique in that students with no previous athletic experience can have an opportunity to be competitive. Some simply find that being an athlete is not something they want to be. However, those of us that do love to row and keep coming back are class council officers, Admissions interns, EMTs, health educators, singers, dancers, actors, student athletic trainers, pre-professionals, while able to manage a full course load. It's all about choices, and we make rowing a priority. We make sacrifices, we are up at 5 AM, we don't party all the time, we fit in second workouts, we are proud of what we can accomplish and strive to push it further. The athletics administration exists at Vassar College because students who matriculate want to play sports; their purpose of being here is minimized as they start preventing students from participating.

Anonymous said...

We have won Liberty League honors on both the men's and women's teams and have consistently beaten Liberty League opponents and other teams from across the country. We are on the chopping block because the athletic department hasn't made a significant investment in our team recently as they have in teams like field hockey, lacrosse, baseball, soccer, and track with the opening of Prentiss Fields. The single time that I have seen the athletic director at the boathouse, she did not stick around long enough to congratulate us on a race where we beat Marist, a Division I program; she didn't even wish me good luck as I walked past her carrying equipment. The athletic department often forgets to acknowledge our accolades while praising those of more visible sports (read: ones that practice and compete on campus), and in my almost three and a half years here, I have never felt like the rowing program was a priority; now that belief is validated.

Administrators have decided that an equally competitive program could be created through the HRRA (Hudson River Rowing Association), which is a delusion. By creating a composite team of athletes from various institutions, we lose the motivation and pride that comes from representing what I had previously regarded as an excellent liberal arts institution. In its urgency to address the financial crisis the college faces, the administration has clearly neglected its moral compass with massive staff layoffs, and I feel that this is another example of questionable spending and misguided allocation of funds. We understand that this is not the same as losing our jobs and livelihood, but we are losing something very important to us; for many of us, we are losing the activity that has defined our college careers.

Our emphasis is the competitiveness of the sport and doing whatever we must to maintain a competitive program. Many rowing programs across the country function on a club level, and ours could too. We would ask the athletic department for their help in determining exactly how a club model would work at Vassar and also in setting up a support or booster club for the rowing program. We have an active alumni base who loved rowing here and would hate to see the program go as much as any of us current rowers would. Decisions should not have been made before consulting the team and understanding how much work we are willing to put into raising money to keep the program functioning as it is currently. We would be willing to work with part-time coaches, drive ourselves to events, pay for our own food, find our own lodging, cut spring break training, and pay dues to maintain the integrity of this program. We are willing to work hard to ensure that something important to us continues in the future to become important to many others.

The most upsetting fact of the matter is that there was no consultation of the student-athletes on the team. The administration has based their decision on participation and has neglected a very important resource in student opinion, which is becoming an alarming trend on campus.

-Christina Peltier '10
Captain, Varsity Women's Rowing