Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Trustees adopt proposal to reduce ski team to club

Seven weeks after President George Bridges sent an e-mail to the Whitman community detailing the administration’s plans to reduce Whitman’s varsity ski programs to club sports, he sent another letter to the Whitman student body Tuesday, April 28 announcing the Board of Trustees’ adoption of the proposed plan. The trustees met over a conference call on April 23 where they made their final decision to convert the teams to club sports. The changes will go in effect in the 2009-10 school year.

The final decision comes after two student forums discussing the proposal and the review of a counter-proposal that members of the ski team, parents and alumni drafted in an attempt to cut costs while maintaining the team’s varsity status. The counter-proposal was reviewed in a smaller meeting between two skiers, a parent, alumnus, President Bridges and the Board of Trustees chair on Monday, April 13. The trustees were originally scheduled to make their final decision on Monday, April 6, but that meeting was delayed so the ski team’s counter-proposal could be reviewed.

First-year Alpine skier Torey Anderson had mixed feelings on the administration’s attempt to address the team’s counter-proposal.

“I’m glad they [extended their deadline] because that showed they took careful consideration into this, but I think that there were still areas left untouched that could have led to a compromise,” said Anderson. “If they had tried to contact us more and get our feedback instead of just reading the proposals and making their decision off of that then some compromise could have been reached.”

Bridges addressed the ski teams efforts in his letter.

“The trustees and I admire the dedication that students, their parents and alumni skiers have exhibited over the last two months in working thoughtfully to consider, discuss and assist in shaping the future of our ski program,” Bridges wrote in his letter to the Whitman student body.

The new plan cuts the ski teams combined budget from 240,000 dollars to 40,000 dollars. Bridges mentions in his letter that more than 60 percent of the funds will address instructional salary needs, while the rest is added to other varsity sports teams’ national travel budgets.

As part of the transition, Alpine head coach Tom Olson and Nordic head coach Calisa Shouweiler will be let go. Their contracts expire July 1, 2009, at which point they will no longer be employed by the college.

Both President Bridges and Athletic Director Dean Snider believe the ski programs will continue their previous success   in United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) competition. The Nordic women’s ski team placed second, while the men finished third at the USCSA national championships March 3-7.

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