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The Blue & Gray Press | September 24, 2017

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Letter to the Editor: Even crew members who transfered out of Mary Washington still care.

Dear Editor,
I am writing in response to the email that was sent by Dr. Chirico regarding his recommendation to terminate the UMW rowing team…It is very upsetting to see this decision was made, and I am asking for support for the crew team.
Dr. Chirico’s reasoning for termination is lack of practice area and lack of funds.  However, we were told last year, and the Bullet reported, that land on the Rappahannock was decided to be used for the team’s practices starting this fall.
As for lack of funds, the only thing needed to be built there is a dock and wooden racks for storage of rowing shells.
As for upkeep of shells and oars, the team fundraises throughout the year on their own with the Row for Humanity fundraiser and the selling of raffle tickets for the annual car drawing.
Mary Washington Rowing is unique because there are very few Virginia collegiate NCAA rowing teams.  If a college even offers rowing in the state of Virginia, it is usually only offered as a club sport.
For example, Division I schools such as Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University, which have tens of thousands of attending students, only offer club rowing.  For a smaller university like Mary Washington to even offer such a sport as Varsity is impressive in itself.
But even more impressive, the women’s team made it to Nationals last spring, for the FIRST time in the history of Mary Washington, gaining an impressive 7th place.  To reward the hard work and dedication of a nationally ranked team with termination is ludicrous.  The opposite reaction should be occurring: more funding, advertising and recruiting should be the next step, not termination.
Additionally, rowing for two years under the coaching staff taught me so much about myself and taught me an incredible work ethic I absolutely would not have had I not decided to attend that first practice freshmen year.
If this team is short, future students at Mary Washington would not have the opportunities I had while at Mary Washington.
The school should be progressing and improving every year to make each semester better than the last for students, not taking steps back in regression.

Sincerely,
Joyce Metzler

Joyce Metzler attended UMW for two years and is now a student at Virginia Commonwealth University

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