Last week, thousands of alumni were heartbroken to hear that The College will be cutting men’s indoor and outdoor track and field. As an alumni of the women’s team, this decision felt particularly personal to me. While the men’s team is directly affected, the women’s team will be infinitely poorer as a result of this decision. I for one would have never considered applying to a school that did not have a men’s track team as it is a clear sign of instability and a lack of investment from the athletic department. Title IX was stated as one of the primary motivations behind this decision - a law which intends to promote gender equality in education. The fact that this is being used as flimsy justification for these changes and with no regard for the negative consequences to female athletes frankly disgusts me.
What’s even more hurtful is the lack of transparency and communication provided to athletes, coaches, and alumni. In the past few years, the team has been facing increasingly challenging financial targets, yet has risen to meet them each time. Meanwhile, performance has been stratospherically increasing year by year under the direction of head coach Alex Heacock and many talented and devoted assistants. Being told that our legacy was being cancelled and that nothing we had given to the college was appreciated over an impersonal 7 minute Zoom call feels like a failure to uphold the values of the college and a slap in the face. “One Tribe, One Family”
April 5th, 2019: Day 2 of Colonial Relays. I remember being impressed, President Rowe, that you had taken the time to come out in the miserable weather to support our Tribe. We are looking to you for leadership, and our idea of leadership is not taking the easy way out. I urge you to uphold this statement you made when you took the position of leadership in 2018:
“What it takes to lead William and Mary now is a strong sense of attachment to its long history.”
We are looking to you now for this leadership.