Field Hockey Program Falls Victim to Budget Cuts
In the midst of a series of controversies surrounding the university and its administration, the Pacific community suffered another loss when, on December 3rd, it was announced that Pacific’s consistently successful women’s Field Hockey team was being discontinued, effective June of 2019.
This announcement comes off the heels of yet another successful season for the Tigers, finishing with a record of 12-8, their season ending in the semi-finals of the America East tournament. “From what I have been told, they did a thorough study and came up with their reasons for cutting the program,” said head coach Andy Smith, “I do however think this is a poor decision and have communicated that with both the president and the athletic director.”
The statement released by University President Pamela Eibeck stated that, “This decision was not made easily; it was determined after careful consideration and a comprehensive review of athletics programs to achieve Athletics’ 12 percent (nearly $1 million) reduction as part of the university-wide budget reduction plan.” Rylee Comeau ‘19 stated that, “For me, there was talk about it, but my coach didn’t really go into detail about what was going on. I know we were struggling with budget cuts, but I didn’t know they were going to go as far as cutting our program.” “My senior class was one of the most winningest teams in history for the program, but the other situation of this is that there are other parts of the athletics programs don’t have to sacrifice anything, and yet we lose our entire program,” continues Comeau.
This cut comes at a time of great controversy for the University administration, with student protests occurring both outside of the Alumni House and during President Eibeck’s office hours. As a result of the discontinuation of the field hockey program, a social media campaign has started on social media app Instagram under the name @savepacificfh, with posts making statements such as “As a community, we wish to understand why such decisions have been taken. But first and foremost, it must be made clear that our priority is not acceptance, but rather action.” When asked about the social media campaign, Coach Smith stated that, “The classy social media campaign is a reflection of the classy individuals we have recruited to make up this team. Everyone involved in this program is a class act and they are carrying themselves with dignity, class and a great level of maturity in what is a terrible situation for them.” The Instagram campaign was promoted by @uopindecline, the same Twitter account that made public the first of the student protests against the administration.
Despite the increasing amount of dissenting voices, there would still be much that needs to be done in order to save the field hockey program at Pacific. “If someone is willing to donate $5 million or help find a way to raise that amount I think the program could be reinstated and be stronger than ever. We have tried and have not managed to do this,” explained Coach Smith, “It’s unfortunate because we have been one of the best programs at Pacific over a sustained period of time.”