After weeks of rallies, frustration and despair, the swimmers and divers of Dartmouth College regained their swimming program on Jan. 8.
The Dartmouth administration had eliminated the varsity program in November because of budgetary cutbacks.
While the team was on its way to a meet at Middlebury College, Athletics Director Josie Harper and Dean James Larimore informed the varsity swimmers and divers that their program would be reinstated, thanks to an agreement between Dartmouth administrators and various parents, alumni and friends who pledged to fund the program through donations.
The program’s removal had prompted considerable student and alumni protest.
Before Wednesday’s agreement, the Athletics Department had denied donor offers to revive the team with private financing.
Student body president Janos Marton said the agreement was one of several the Student Assembly had presented to the administration in a rare ultimatum. Discuss the situation with us, the ultimatum stated, or the Assembly would turn to the Board of Trustees to seek a change of administration.
Marton said student opinion was of one voice on an unprecedented level.
“We conducted a survey that reached over 50 percent of the campus,” Marton said. “Of the approximately 2,000 people surveyed, 82 percent were against the decision [to eliminate the swim team]. Only 6 percent were for.”
In a press release announcing the decision’s reversal, Harper thanked many of the groups that came together to save the swimming and diving program.
“Through the efforts of a group of generous alumni, parents and friends, and the support of [Dartmouth] President [James] Wright, Dean Larimore, and the senior administration, we have overcome the budget pressure that forced the original decision,” Harper said.