Reinstate the Stanford Women's Field Hockey team

Reinstate the Stanford Women's Field Hockey team

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On July 8th, Stanford University and the Athletics Department announced that they will be cutting the Women's Field Hockey program, along with 10 other Varsity programs, at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. Without any conversation with or forewarning to the coaching staff, student-athletes or alumni, Stanford announced that this was a "final" decision. As a university that prides themselves on their connection to alumni and the local community, the actions and excuses for those actions they announced are a blatant violation of trust and a premeditated attempt to stifle opposition. We demand that the university and the athletics department reinstate the field hockey team and be held accountable for financial mismanagement that led to this decision being made. We petition that they have a transparent dialogue with the community about their decision-making process so that we can put together a plan to save the field hockey program. We ask that they partner with us to co-create a plan to weather this economic downturn and create a sustainable model for field hockey to persist at Stanford. 

I am a former Stanford field hockey student-athlete and am now a local club field hockey coach. I grew up in the Bay Area and have been raised by the local hockey community. I picked up the sport when I was 12 years old, already having been passed up by far more skilled peers in other sports like soccer. Field hockey was the first sport I played that felt accessible to me-- because it was a less popular sport I felt empowered to become an expert and could directly see the impact my path had on my high school and club programs after graduation. Field hockey has given me and countless others an opportunity to achieve growth. It was a way for me, a young woman from Gilroy, CA, to go to a prestigious 4-year college and receive an education and a diploma that will forever change my life. It taught me some of my most valuable life lessons-- it taught me how to fail, and how to learn from failure and be resilient. It taught me about the strength of community-- that your team and coaches can and will be there for you in your most difficult times. 

Words cannot fully explain the impact that this decision will have on not only the local hockey community, but also the entire West Coast and nationwide community. Since I’ve been a youth player, I’ve witnessed the number of CA field hockey participants and clubs exponentially grow. Stanford, along with the other CA college D1 teams were instrumental in this growth-- not just providing an opportunity for young players like me to see themselves in their student-athletes, but to also produce strong, female leaders who pay it forward to their communities after college. Stanford field hockey has changed my life and the lives of countless others by serving as a stable foundation in the growth of field hockey in California. Cutting this program will be catastrophic for youth and college-level field hockey. Beyond that, this sets the precedent for all other non-revenue sports.  

Stanford’s decision signals to youth, to high schoolers and their families, to current students, and to other universities that they no longer care about their non-revenue sports and will heartlessly cut things that don't boost the bottom line. Does Stanford not realize their power and influence to grow sports beyond their community? Stanford’s values state that they recognize their sense of responsibility and purposeful impact on the world. I’m confident that when they made this decision, they did not understand the full impact this would have on the future of field hockey nationwide. If Stanford was aligned with their own values they would use their privilege and their power to grow these sports and increase sport diversity and opportunities. The way this decision was made and communicated has eroded my trust in the university.

It is time for the voice of the Stanford field hockey team, alumni, friends, family, and the entire community to be heard. We petition President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Provost Persis Drell, Director of Athletics Bernard Muir and the Board of Trustees to reinstate Stanford Field Hockey. 

We ask those who sign this petition to take the following actions:

  • Join the Save Stanford Field Hockey Facebook group to stay informed about this effort and find out how you can help.
  • Contact the following Stanford entities to express your reactions to the university’s decision and demand that Stanford Field Hockey be reinstated. Feel free to use parts of this petition to craft your response. 
    • Bernard Muir, Director of Athletics, 650-723-4596, bmmuir@stanford.edu
    • Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President, (650) 723-2481, marctl@stanford.edu
    • Persis Drell, Provost, (650) 723-3938, persis@stanford.edu
    • Board of Trustees