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UA, Deans To Discuss Athletics Card Policy

By Dana Levine

On Monday February 28, students and faculty will meet in an open forum to discuss the future of the athletics program at MIT.

One of the issues which will be at the forefront of the discussion will be the restructuring of athletics fees and the elimination of the athletic card as a source of funding for athletics.

During meetings with administrators, the athletics subcommittee was given assurances that the athletic card system will change significantly next year. “We know that they are definitely getting rid of athletics cards. They told us to wait and see what happens,” said Chi-An Wang ’01, a member of the track and field team and a co-chair of the Athletics Subcommittee.

During her presentation at a meeting of the Undergraduate Association Council on October 18th, Dean of Students Rosalind H. Williams mentioned that the Institute had considered integrating the athletics fee into the tuition. The Corporation is due to vote on next year’s tuition on March 3.

Rose G. Radin ’02, a member of the cross country team and the subcommittee’s other co-chair, noted several flaws in the current athletics card system. “The athletics cards aren’t bringing in enough revenue. They aren’t even being used as a form of organization or security,” she said.

“Having funding come from tuition is a way of having MIT say that athletics is for everyone,” Radin said. She further emphasized that every student participates in the Physical Education program and therefore derives benefits from the Athletics Department.

Earlier this year, the department attempted to raise the yearly athletics card fee from $20 to $50, but this plan was aborted after protest by students.

Forum to allow communication

“The members of the subcommittee were very enthusiastic about the forum and Dean Williams and Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72 encouraged the Athletics Department to participate, said UA President Matthew L. McGann ’00.

McGann ’00 noted that the forum will be primarily a chance for the students to ask questions about the state of the athletics program rather than to allow them to present their own ideas. “Perhaps the administration will tell us how they will fill the athletics funding gap,” he said.

Over the past year, the subcommittee has met with several administrators within the Athletics Department and the Office of Student Life in an attempt to gather as much information as possible about the current state of the athletics program.

“Right now, some of these administrators don’t know what students want. It’s not their fault, they just haven’t had the chance to talk to students,” Wang said.

“Lack of communication has caused problems in the past. One way to fix this is to have students and faculty in the same room at the same time,” said Wang.

McGann also mentioned that Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72 will not be at the forum because he will be on a fundraising trip to gather money for the construction of the new Athletics Complex. “The Athletics Complex has been the centerpiece of a lot of recent fundraising efforts,” said McGann.

The UA Subcommittee on Athletics was created by several student athletes in response to the sudden changes in athletics which occurred at the beginning of the year.

“We realized when the Junior Varsity cuts happened so suddenly that there was a lot that the undergraduates didn’t know about athletics,” said Rose G. Radin ’02, a member of the cross country team and the subcommittee’s other co-chair.