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The Dartmouth men's and women's varsity swimming and diving program will be continued through a funding agreement between a group of students, alumni, and parents and the Dartmouth administration.
The College announced in November that the program would be eliminated at the end of the current competitive season as part of institution-wide budget reductions.
The agreement making it possible for the program to be continued is the result of discussion and collaboration between the Dartmouth administration, students, alumni and parents. It calls for the program to be continued through the 2003-04 season with funds reallocated internally, and for 10 years after that by the proceeds from a $2 million fund-raising effort.
The general economic downturn is causing Dartmouth to reallocate funds and trim budgets across the campus.
The decision to eliminate the swimming and diving program was made by the Director of Athletics and Recreation, JoAnn (Josie) Harper, in consultation with the Dean of the College (James Larimore.)
The portion of the overall budget cuts that must be absorbed by the Department of Athletics is $260,000 out of a $10.8 million annual operating budget.
The elimination of the swimming and diving program would have reduced the athletic budget by $212,000 annually beginning in 2003-04. The department had already pared down administrative budgets, increased revenue expectations, and made reductions to intercollegiate, recreation and maintenance budgets the previous year.
The decision was based on the conclusion that eliminating one team, rather than instituting an across-the-board cut to all programs was in the better long-term interests of Dartmouth's overall athletics offerings.
The swimming facility (the Karl Michael Pool) was also a consideration, but was not a driving force. It had been anticipated that a major investment would be required in order to bring it to a higher competitive standard.
The timing of the announcement, at the beginning of the 2002-03 season and early in the admissions cycle, was designed to allow current and prospective students the maximum amount of time to explore their options.
The admissions office is in communication with all applicants who have been identified as swimming recruits and who were admitted to Dartmouth under its early decision plan.
In the weeks after the decision was announced, the administration communicated regularly and frequently with those affected by it, including the members of the teams, the coaches, alumni leadership, the Student Assembly and the parents of the students. The Student Assembly passed a resolution calling for a reversal of the decision, and the Alumni Council approved a resolution recognizing the administration's need to make priority-based decisions, but encouraging the reinstatement of the program.
Shortly before the holiday break, several administrators met with representatives of the swim teams and the Student Assembly to discuss possible ways of continuing the program. President Wright also met with the captains of the teams, and interrupted that meeting to speak to students rallying in support of reinstating the swimming program
Dartmouth officials continued to discuss privately with members of the parent/alumni group possible funding mechanisms that would allow the restoration of the program. The volunteer group began to raise funds during that time.
In early January 2003, the administration reached an agreement to continue the swimming and diving program with the alumni/parent volunteer group with the following provisions:
The restoration of the swimming and diving program places it on the same footing as all other intercollegiate programs. Decisions on program priorities in every division of Dartmouth are within the purview of the senior administrator in each area.
The Dean of the College has identified funds to support the program for one additional year by deferring some initiatives and reallocating funds from other programs. The budget reduction in this area remains intact, so no funds from the Dean of the College are available to support the swimming/diving program beyond the one additional year.
The acceptance of external funding for the program does not represent a change in College policy. The funding will not endow the program in perpetuity; it will support it for an additional 10 years, during which time other funding sources will be identified. Volunteer support groups will continue to work with senior administrators in responding to institutional funding priorities.
A major investment in the facility will not be a short-term capital priority. The leadership of the swim program has assured the administration that the pool is adequate by Ivy League standards. There is a plan in place to remediate the long-term impact of humidity on the Alumni Gym.
It is anticipated that the swimming/diving teams will continue to recruit student-athletes to the program and participate competitively with Dartmouth's Ivy League counterparts.
Dartmouth continues to face budget challenges. Information on the athletic budget was communicated early because of its time-sensitive impact on current and prospective students. The College-wide process calls for the budget committee, chaired by the provost, to approve all reduction plans. Additional information on the College-wide budget situation will be forthcoming in the near future.
Dartmouth faces challenges similar to other Division I institutions in attempting to balance a broad array of intercollegiate and recreational programs and the resources available for them. Dartmouth offers one of the nation's most extensive Division I athletic programs with 34 varsity sports — 16 men's, 16 women's and two coed — involving opportunities for more than 900 student-athletes, while having one of the smallest enrollments in Division I with 4,300 undergraduates.
"I am pleased that we have reached a positive outcome that enables us to continue the program. Through the efforts of a group of generous alumni, parents and friends, and the support of President Wright, Dean Larimore, and the senior administration, we have overcome the budget pressure that forced the original decision."
"We are delighted to reach an agreement that presents an opportunity for the swimming and diving program at Dartmouth to continue, while recognizing the budget goals that Dartmouth must meet. The College does face significant budget challenges and will take the measures it must to be fiscally responsible. The agreement supports Dartmouth in meeting our fiscal responsibilities and also maintaining the swimming and diving program."
"[This] is a wonderful example of how the Dartmouth community can work together in a constructive effort. I commend the different groups involved – the athletes, Student Assembly, parents, and alumni/ae as well as James Larimore and JoAnn Harper and her staff, and I am pleased that we will continue to have swimming and diving at Dartmouth."
"The Board of Trustees has fully supported the administration's efforts to find ways to continue the swimming and diving program. We are very pleased with the way the situation has been resolved, and are grateful to the students, alumni, parents, and administrators whose efforts produced this constructive outcome."
"I am ecstatic that Dartmouth College is reinstating the men's and women's swimming and diving teams! I'm especially happy for the current members of both teams, proud of the responses from our alumni and sympathetic supporters, and grateful to the parents of the current athletes for their unrelenting effort to have the teams reinstated at Dartmouth College."
"I am thrilled that the proud tradition of Dartmouth swimming and diving will continue. Being a four-year member of the team has been a very fulfilling experience and an integral part of my time at Dartmouth. I am so happy that future generations of Dartmouth students will be able to reap the benefits of the team, and have the utmost respect for the swimmers and divers who have come before me. I'm thankful for the untiring efforts of my fellow classmates, parents, and alums, and to the College for listening to our concerns."
"The news about the reinstatement of Dartmouth swimming and diving marks one of the proudest moments of my time at Dartmouth. It took a lot of hard work from a lot of different fronts to restore the programs to the varsity level. It is a testament to the dedication of my teammates, parents, alums, classmates and to the College itself for listening to our concerns and considering our proposals. I am proud to say that I will be able to come back and watch future generations profit from swimming at Dartmouth the way that I did."
"That the administration has agreed to preserve the swim team is a great triumph for the Dartmouth community and students everywhere. While we recognize that administrators have difficult jobs, and act with good intentions, it is imperative that students ensure that their views are always represented. I am very excited that we were able to reach a compromise suitable for everyone involved, and we hope that the lines of communication will always be open between administrators and the undergraduate body that they serve."
"The administration's decision to maintain the varsity swimming and diving programs is truly a victory for student voice on the Dartmouth campus. I am proud to see that a combination of unified action and rational discussion was able to produce a Dartmouth focused on the actual interests of our community, and I am nothing but hopeful about future communication between students and administrators. A decision like this was a long time in coming, and I feel so privileged to be able to serve a student body that can make change happen."
"It is encouraging to see that students, alumni and the administration were able to work together towards an agreement. We are told that a good education teaches one to challenge assumptions, be creative, and compromise towards a solution - and what is perhaps more encouraging is that this is not just empty rhetoric. In fact it was as a result of an intellectual and economically cognizant discussion that we reached where we are now, not through angry outbursts or hostile ultimatums. Hopefully that will be the legacy of this experience."
"We are grateful to the leaders of Dartmouth for their willingness to listen to the needs of Dartmouth students, the desires of alumni, and the concerns of swimmers and divers everywhere. They have earned the trust we place in them."
"The decision to reinstate the Dartmouth swimming and diving teams is the product of a sustained and intensive, six-week effort in which all of the participants—the team members, their parents, the Student Assembly, the alumni, and the administration can take much pride. We should all be especially proud of the students, who were mature, focused, organized, inventive, determined to fully understand the concerns that underlay the termination of the teams, and insistent that alternative solutions could be found. We can be proud too of their families, fellow students, and the alumni, who rallied around them, and of the administration, which demonstrated a flexibility and responsiveness not always characteristic of large academic institutions. We are all part of an extended Dartmouth family, and the story today is that the family is alive and very well."
"Dartmouth students should take much of the credit for this creative agreement. They played an active and enthusiastic role and their ability to demonstrate how important the swimming and diving program is to them was instrumental in finding a solution to a difficult problem."
"I, along with all of the parents, are extremely proud of the maturity and strength of character demonstrated by the swimmers, divers, and the rest of the Dartmouth student body who have acted in a very positive way to support their principles and goals. I am gratified by the strong support from alumni and their recognition of the important role of athletics in defining the distinct personality of Dartmouth that attracts such a high caliber of students.
"I am pleased that the Dartmouth administration has demonstrated its wisdom and courage in working with all parties in a constructive and timely fashion to forge a positive solution to a complex and difficult set of problems. I appreciate the broad public support of the community, the press, independent swimming organizations, students, and administrators of other schools and the many others who reached out to help in so many different ways. I look forward to working with all parties to achieve the goals that have been established to make Dartmouth Swimming/Diving even stronger as a result of this experience."
"Reinstatement is a welcome outcome. The willingness on the part of the administration to listen and respond is a very positive signal of Dartmouth's ultimate sense of fair play and open-mindedness. This decision is a tribute to the terrific persuasiveness and passion of the innumerable supporters of Dartmouth swimming and diving and, most of all, to the athletes themselves."
"Swimming and diving is a sport of champions, and our children have shown that they are champions in and out of the pool through their commitment to preserving swimming and diving at Dartmouth for themselves and future generations of student-athletes.
"During the last several weeks, I have been impressed by the willingness of the Dartmouth administration, especially Dean Larimore and Athletic Director Harper, to listen to the concerns of the athletes, their parents, and alumni and to work diligently to identify solutions that supported reinstatement of the teams. This is a great day for Dartmouth College, its athletes, and the vast swimming and diving community nationwide."
"Athletics at Dartmouth are a strong complement to outstanding academics. Today's announcement to reinstate swimming and diving as a varsity sport demonstrates Dartmouth's commitment to the total educational experience. The passion that the swimmers and divers have for their sport and their school remains intact, and we, as parents, are encouraged by the administration's response to student needs."
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