This is the email justification for the rowing program being cut that was sent out by Dean Kitzinger. The rowers did manage to raise over $10,000 in funds that will be used to protect rowing at Vassar for the time being. I’m trying to find out more details but in the meantime, not the continued emphasis on changing the face of Vassar forever and not as budget-tightening temporary means…changing the Vassar experience forever to….what, save some money?
In the meantime, congrats to those hardworking, fundraising VC rowers! And we’re kinda jealous…Maybe we can have a poem-a-thon? Not the same.
Dear Alumnae and Alumni,
As you may have seen in the Misc or heard from a friend, Vassar has taken the difficult decision to transform rowing into a club sport. I wanted to give you a little context for this decision and to explain in some more detail what opportunities there will be for rowers at Vassar.
If you have been reading President Hill’s emails, you know that Vassar is undertaking a series of permanent changes to spending at the college to ensure that we achieve financial equilibrium for the future health of the college. These decisions are not about temporary, belt-tightening changes. The Department of Athletics and Physical Education has been considering for months how to participate in this college-wide effort. They considered a number of options, including across-the-board cuts for all teams. But significant cuts to all the teams would seriously impair the ability of the teams to compete. So it was clear to the department that it should consider reducing the number of varsity teams. The three criteria they agreed upon, none of which is more important than any of the others, are the overall cost of the program, the recruiting and retention of athletes in the program, and the college’s ability to provide a serious alternative for athletes engaged in the sport. We considered every team. With reluctance we came to the conclusion that rowing would have to change, based on these criteria.
Of central importance to us in making this decision was our confidence that we could provide a serious and competitive rowing experience, if we changed the team from a varsity to a club sport. We had this confidence because we have worked closely with the Hudson River Rowing Association to imagine how we could partner with them and possibly with other colleges in the area to create a larger competitive context for Vassar’s team. HRRA has excellent facilities, a strong commitment from enthusiastic life-time rowers, and the serious dedication of the director of HRRA to rowing as a competitive sport. Although we continue to be very interested in exploring this partnership, some members of the team asked us to work with them to develop a plan for a club sport run independently of HRRA. We will be working with the team to develop both of these options over the course of the year. Vassar’s varsity rowing coach, Rodney Mott, has indicated his willingness to consider staying on for a year to help with the transition.
We would welcome your thoughts as we continue the planning. We are trying to be imaginative and careful in making a change which, though driven by financial necessity, is also guided by our knowledge of how important rowing is for many current students and alumnae/i.
Dean of Planning and Academic Affairs