Prevent Saint Anselm College from Relegating Itself to Division III Athletics

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Prevent Saint Anselm College from Relegating Itself to Division III Athletics

This petition had 1,925 supporters
William Fletcher started this petition to President Dr. Steven R. DiSalvo and
On August 25, 2015 Saint Anselm College President Steven R. DiSalvo announced the school has applied to enter the exploratory phase of NCAA Division III membership for all athletic programs. According to his statement, Saint Anselm College, “evaluated our academic, geographic, and athletic profile, along with our overall vision and strategic goals, and it became very clear that we were a better fit with the majority of Division III schools. If we are accepted, it will be an exciting opportunity for us to grow as an institution- recommitting to our mission and values, while promoting academic and athletic excellence.” The school has positioned the proposed relegation as a means to align itself with Division III schools such as Babson College, MIT, Wellesley College, Emerson College and Smith College.  According to the school’s press release, “Division III schools emphasize a student-athlete experience strongly grounded in campus life and a comprehensive program of learning and development.”  Comparing itself to a storied institution like MIT is purely for effect, as it doesn’t paint a full picture. Saint Anselm's proposed new conference also includes the likes of Springfield College and Norwich University. While the administration spins the decision as purely academic, many alumni feel the decision was driven by the almighty dollar. Once relegated to Division III, Saint Anselm will no longer have to foot the bill for athletic scholarships that would give deserving students the chance to achieve their academic and career goals through their athletic talent. Over the years, Saint Anselm College has built a strong tradition competing in Division II, and recently began awarding scholarships to deserving student athletes. As a result, more teams and programs have become competitive. Athletics enrich the college experience for both athletes and nonathletes and instill a sense of school spirit and camaraderie that is unmatched in any other area of college life. But athletic scholarships are not just about the sports programs themselves. Awarding talented and deserving athletes the chance to study at an institution like Saint Anselm gives students who many not otherwise be able afford a liberal arts education the chance to achieve their goals and set the stage for successful careers off the field. Relegating to Division III sends the wrong message to current and future students. It is akin to giving up when the chips are down. The administration is telling its student body they are simply not good enough to compete in Division II, so the only answer is to give up and step down to Division III. Relegating also downplays the previous achievements of alumni athletes who have gone on to excel in careers outside of the sports arena. Their hard work and sacrifice gave them – and the students who supported them – a richer college experience. Tell Saint Anselm College that as students, alumni and community members, you will not stand for relegation. Our school and our students deserve to compete in Division II, student athletes deserve the chance to earn scholarships, and alumni athletes deserve to have their past achievements recognized in Division II. Finally, every member of the Saint Anselm community deserves the honesty and transparency of the administration.  The school’s own mission includes, “encourage the lifelong pursuit of the truth.”  Students deserve to know the truth behind this decision, and more importantly, they deserve the enrichment that strong athletic programs and scholarships provide to athletes and nonathletes alike.    

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