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Letter to the editor

Athletics needs better transparency

March 7, 2014

The UW-River Falls Athletics Department needs to have more administrative transparency. On March 3 the Faculty Senate Athletics Committee held a public town hall meeting to gather information and discuss the $1.7 million university-wide budget cut and its impact on the UWRF sport module. Although this meeting was open to the public there was little notice or advertising. There was no notice on the athletic department’s website, Athletic Department’s Facebook page, Faculty Senate’s Calendar, the University’s Master Calendar and no official agenda posted. Despite the lack of essential communication there was still adequate turnout from the University community arguably due to the content of the town meeting.

During the meeting attendees were given the opportunity to speak addressing one of eight considerations provided by the Faculty Senate Athletics Committee. There was no discussion during the meeting, and no opportunity for attendees to ask questions. Athletic Director Roger Ternes and Assistant Athletic Director Crystal Lanning, hosts of the meeting, did not speak at the meeting.

The meeting also provided no information to allow for an informed discussion to properly evaluate the UWRF sports module information including the overall athletics budget, costs per sport, revenue generated per sport, academic performance of teams and retention rates of team members be discussed.

This discussion is essential to the future of athletics and the University. Cutting one program is a band aid on a larger problem with in the UWRF Athletics Department. Moving forward I urge the UWRF Athletics Department to actively engage in public discussion regarding the UWRF sports module, and the Faculty Senate Athletics Committee not to rush to a decision. Decisions of this magnitude require a comprehensive University-wide discussion, and should be made in the best interest of the entire University.

Tony Sumnicht
Student