Things To Act
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
 
Athletic Facilities
I had an interesting conversation today with a student troubled by the university's policies toward student access to athletics. His central concern at the moment is that, now that the wrestling room in the SFH is being destroyed, there will officially be nowhere on campus that a martial arts club can practice with mats (and evidently, PE martial arts classes will also be discontinued). More broadly, in his conversations with the administration, he discovered that this is simply part of a growing trend toward deemphasizing student access to athletic facilities--basketball and racquetball courts have less freeplay time, weight rooms are open less often, etc. The official priority is apparently: 1. PE classes. 2. Varsity athletics. 3. Intramurals. 4. (With whatever's left, if anything) open access to students. This priority order is not necessarily wrong, but if it results in little to no open access by the student body, it seems perhaps misguided. And it is curious that the opening of two new athletic buildings should result in less space for students. Perhaps the administration discovered that student use of facilities was declining, justifying cutbacks--but this turns into a chicken and egg problem, as student use will naturally decline if facilities aren't open at convenient hours. And, given that the message the PE GE requirement seems to be trying to send is that students should be more physically active, cutting back is curious. Ultimately, it's a private university, with no obligation to provide anything. Still, I wonder how many students would appreciate greater accessibility to the university's athletic facilities.

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