Student Athletes Voice Concerns at Open Forum

UCSD students gathered Thursday evening to express concern over the increasing difficulties of balancing academics and intercollegiate athletics.

The open forum, held at the J.K. Wood conference room on the Warren campus, was sponsored by the Warren College Community Development Council.

Suzie Asfoor of the Community Development Council organized the forum to begin a dialogue between student athletes, the athletic department and the UCSD administration on how they can come together to better serve the needs of student athletes.

UCSD Athletic Director Earl Edwards, Assistant Athletic Director Ken Grosse and Warren College Provost David Jordan were present to respond to the numerous issues and questions brought forth by those in attendance.

The fundamental problem is that there is no university-wide policy concerning missed class work due to travel and competition. Professors have full jurisdiction over the academic procedures in their class and this leads to varying standards for different students, resulting in confusion.

The forum was an attempt to better understand these problems so they can be corrected.

Student athletes spoke of the problems that occur when intercollegiate competitions occur simultaneously with classes and exams. Most of the time, when athletes have to miss an exam due to travel, professors allow them to take exams prior to departure or upon return.

The main concern among athletes in attendance was having to choose between taking an exam or participating in a competition.

Men’s tennis team captain Everett Schroeter noted that his team has been at less than full strength on numerous occasions because of players needing to take exams for which professors would not allow a compromise.

Another problem addressed was compulsory attendance policies in mandatory classes such as Dimensions of Culture and Making of the Modern World. With priority registration, many conflicts have been avoided, but they still occur. Student athletes will often use their allowable absences on game days or travel, hoping they do not actually get sick and need to be absent from class.

The general consensus among student athletes at the forum was that academics have and always will take precedence over athletics, but compromise should not be such an uphill battle.

Student athletes complained that some professors are under the impression that athletes at UCSD are athletes firsts and scholars second. Jordan, Edwards and Grosse made it clear that the opposite is true.

Caroline Kim of the Resident Dean Advisory Board also said that the forum had been beneficial.

“”This was a good starting point to educate athletes,”” Kim said. “”This is an issue that can be resolved, but we have to work on it.””