20 Dartmouth Varsity Teams Sign Letter Urging Swimming’s Reinstatement

Dartmouth Team - Goldminds Swimming World August 2019
Darthmouth swimming

Members of 20 varsity teams at Dartmouth have signed a letter to the college’s president and athletic director urging them to reconsider the cutting of men’s and women’s swimming and diving.

The letter, sent to school president Phil Hanlon and AD Harry Sheehy, voiced displeasure with how the school axed five varsity teams – men’s and women’s swimming and diving, golf and lightweight rowing – in July via unilateral action and with little warning. The lack of transparency to or input from the university community was a concern for Dartmouth athletes. They are also circumspect that the cuts and the reduced visibility of the school in these sports will actually help the college’s overall position.

From the letter:

We believe student-athletes are a catalyst for recruiting a wide variety of talented students to attend Dartmouth. We strongly disagree with your view that recruiting more non-athletes will improve the Dartmouth experience. Athletes are talented and capable members of the community, and their contributions are even more valuable through the fostered teamwork and leadership. Athletics, like other extracurricular activities, provide environments that cultivate strong character and shape us into well- rounded members of society. Your decision tears those opportunities away from over a hundred of our peers.

Your actions have also done permanent damage to Dartmouth’s ability to recruit in good faith. Why would a student-athlete commit to Dartmouth in any sport if we cannot keep the promise that they will be representing the Big Green for the entirety of their college career?

The letter co-opts the university’s #OneDartmouthTeam motto, used on social media and for fundraising purposes, as a rallying cry for its solidarity.

It’s one of several letters in recent weeks concerning Dartmouth swimming’s fight for survival. Last week, team captains Margaret Deppe-Walker and Brandon Liao appealed to the U.S. Department of Education to force the university to disclose more information about how the decision was made. As the 110 athletes affected by cuts include 30 students of Asian descent, athletes have also written to the college’s board claiming racial discrimination.

The #OneDartmouthTeam letter by athletes puts hundreds of signatories behind similar concerns. Again, from the letter:

We are calling on the College and its athletic department to find the courage to rethink their decision, provide transparency, and find a more equitable solution to their problems with admissions numbers and financial distress. Eliminating these five programs was an ill-considered determination in the face of a solvable challenge, and as such, we demand that the athletic department reevaluate their decision and reinstate the Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Teams, the Men’s and Women’s Golf Teams, and the Lightweight Rowing Team.

Read the full letter at the Save Dartmouth Swim Dive site.

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