[This letter was sent to Aurora Lopez, AVP Athletic Relations, on February 26th. It is intended to address the entire athletic community.]
I am personally writing to you about March 1st because I have been quite vocal against the DI referendum, and because I am sure that the athletics community feels that March 1st is not for them. I entreat you to support March 1st by encouraging athletes to attend, by forwarding this email to your athletics contacts, and by attending yourself.
I want to emphasize to you, and to the athletic community in general, that March 1st is a day for education first and foremost, and that there are problems with our public education system which directly affect athletes. The loss of state funding has seriously harmed athletics programs at UCSB, UCI, UCR and UCD to name just a few. Increased system-wide mandatory fees harm athletes just as they harm other students, if not more because athletes already have such full schedules.
Unfortunately, for many students the fight is against any increase in fees for which they perceive no benefit. Many of the organizers for March 1st fall within that group, and so the issues of state-wide fees (which affect us all) and campus fees (like DI) have been run together. The reaction against the DI referendum is a product of the current atmosphere of fee escalation. If the regents and UCOP were not facing the possibility of raising fees by 16% annually, the D1 referendum would be far less contentious than it has proven to be.
I believe our athletes deserve to advance to DI. We are the largest school in DII and we already have three sports in DI. That being said, all students have been made to suffer through cut backs, and fee increases, not just athletes. We all deserve a better, more affordable education, and while we will have different priorities I believe we can all agree there are problems within our system which are unacceptable to everyone.
Athletics are an important part of a college experience, and neither I, nor anyone I have spoken to, is against DI in and of itself. It is part of the tragedy of our system that many students feel they cannot support program improvements they would otherwise love to have.
Please show your solidarity.