Whitman Athletics holds DEI training for coaching team

Tate Cadang, Sports Reporter

The Whitman Athletics Instagram account advertises the DEI workshops. Photo contributed by Whitman Athletics.

The Whitman Athletics department has implemented new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training for its coaching staff with plans to extend sessions to student-athletes. The sessions have been put together by Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Thomas Witherspoon who collaborated with CEO and co-founder of ENcompass, Sheridan Blanford.

Although Witherspoon and Blanford have declined to comment on the sessions that have been held for the coaches, the head coach for the women’s tennis team, Coach John Hein expressed his gratitude.

“I was thrilled when Kim announced the partnership with Sheridan Blanford,” Coach Hein said.

Witherspoon and Blanford collaborated and facilitated four sessions on the topic of DEI for the coaches of the athletic department which would be the first of its kind.

“It really stood out in a sustainable way for our department to create an inclusion plan which is something departments on campus are doing, if they haven’t done it already, so this is a good first step for that,” Coach Hein said.

Coach Hein’s perspective on the session was a positive one as he recognized the potential impacts of these sessions.

“It involved a lot of really good self-work and self-reflection which we all need in these areas no matter where we’re at,” Coach Hein said. “Then the sessions moved into really productive examining of who we are as a department.”

Coach Hein also credits Director Chandler on her efforts for making these sessions happen. Director Chandler acknowledged the work of Witherspoon and Blanford for the sessions in a separate interview with Whitman Athletics.

“I am grateful for the collaboration and contributions of Sheridan and Thomas to design, lead and facilitate these important discussions for our entire department,” Director Chandler said, speaking on behalf of the athletic department as a whole.

Despite the positive message this program seeks to spread, the Athletics department has not been widely advertising any of the sessions. The Wire reached out to many participants for an interview; however, most declined. An anonymous source shared apprehension about sharing any personal opinion that may go against the united message of the department.

While many coaches declined to comment on why the department is keeping the sessions under wraps, a recent article was published on the Whitman Athletics website highlighting coach’s takeaways from sessions. Many coaches expressed gratitude towards Witherspoon and Blanford for the insight on how to further support their athletes.