http://ift.tt/2gbac8hCHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCCU) —
One trustee at Parkland College is convincing board members to eliminate the athletic program in order to improve its budget.
Last month the Board of Trustees voted against renewing the contracts of several non-tenured faculty members. The layoffs were connected to the budget crisis the college is currently facing.
Donna Giertz has been serving on the Parkland Board of Trustees for more than 10 years, and for a majority of her tenure she tried persuading the board that ending the athletic program would be the best solution to the school’s financial problems.
“Our mission statement at Parkland is to engage the community in learning,” Giertz said. “I don’t think that’s a big recruiting tool to say that we’re well-known in some sport all over the country, and I don’t think that adds to the educational value of our students.”
Freshmen at Parkland, Gabriel Rees, said he doesn’t think getting rid of athletics would be a good idea.
“Even if it would change the budget, it would affect a lot of people,” Rees said. “Because [athletes] put so much time in it and then they’re like ‘no you can’t do this anymore’ and it’s like what was the point of them coming in the first place?”
Freshmen at Parkland Marlene Mufuta said she believes sports bring students together on campus.
“College is about studying yeah,” Mufuta said. “But besides studying you need to relax and that’s why I think sports is a great way to do so.”
Last year Parkland spent an estimated $1 million on athletics, and this year the number dropped to an estimate of $800,000.
Giertz said though not everyone on the board agree with her, she does not plan on giving up.
“But we still need to keep reducing and eventually face out because we can’t afford it,” Giertz said.
Parkland College officials declined Fox Illinois’ request for an interview. The board is scheduled to meet on December 14th, though it is unclear if they’ll continue the athletics conversation.