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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Increasing Access to Athletic Facilities

The main strength of athletic endeavors at MIT is their accessibility to a large segment of our community, ranging from NCAA athletes to groups of friends playing pickup soccer. We recognize that MITs Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (DAPER) has a difficult job trying to balance the interests of all of these groups when deciding on the allocation of scarce resources such as playing fields.

However, DAPER's policy of renting out MIT's limited athletic resources has very unfortunate consequences for the quality of student life. This summer, as in past summers, DAPER has rented all or almost all of the available grass fields at MIT to a community softball league. The league has a long tradition at MIT, although teams are not necessarily affiliated with MIT. While the rental benefits DAPER by generating much needed revenue, granting any one group exclusive access to a scarce resource is a poor choice for the general MIT community. The unavailability of grass fields for students to relax and play a casual game of soccer or train for a sport in the offseason is odd given that MIT athletic membership nominally includes access to outdoor fields (see, for example, http://web.mit.edu/zcenter/gen_info/cs_membership.html).

Another example of the rental policy's clash with student interest is the winter rental of the indoor track to Boston community running. While in principle students are allowed to be on the track, the track is often so crowded by the community group that running a separate workout is difficult or dangerous.

We hope that the MIT administration will assist DAPER in finding a way to accommodate the student population at large while still satisfying their budgetary constraints.

Peter M. Mayer G
Pius A. Uzamere II '04, UA President
Jacob Faber '04, UA Vice President

This story was published on Tuesday, May 4, 2004.
Volume 124, Number 22
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