Letter to the Editor

The purpose of the athletics review, forums

I want to personally thank the more than 300 members of the GW community who have participated in two open forums on the future of athletics at the University. GW President Steven Knapp and I, along with members of the University-wide athletics steering committee, have participated in both forums. We have received invaluable feedback from students, faculty, staff and alumni about our community’s priorities for intercollegiate athletics, club sports and recreational opportunities, including the Lerner Health and Wellness Center. Both forums have also been attended by Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz and Senior Associate Director of Athletics Mary Jo Warner, as well as members of the athletic department staff, coaches and student-athletes.

I appreciate The Hatchet’s coverage of the entire athletics review process, which is helping to keep our community informed of this important opportunity to support and elevate GW athletics to a new level of excellence.

I did want to discuss an important misconception about the last forum, raised in an April 21 Hatchet editorial. The editorial suggests Russ Ramsey, chairman of the Board of Trustees; Randy Levine, Board of Trustees member and president of the New York Yankees; and newly named incoming athletics director Patrick Nero should have been in attendance.

It is important to clarify the purpose and expectation of the forums and how they fit into the broader athletics review underway. The executive committee, chaired by Randy Levine and made up of members of the Board of Trustees and several members of the president leadership team, have chartered a University-wide steering committee, which has been tasked with soliciting feedback from the GW community and conducting an evaluation of the major issues that should be part of a new strategic plan for athletics. The feedback provided at the two University-wide forums is an important part of that information gathering process and has always been envisioned as an open forum held by the steering committee for GW students, faculty, staff and alumni.

There has never been an expectation that the forums would involve members of the executive committee. Furthermore, Patrick Nero was just announced Wednesday morning as the next Director of Athletics, but he will not join the University staff officially until this summer.

I encourage all members of our community to visit the website of the athletics review for more information about the process, including minutes of the open forums. You can also submit comments, suggestions and ideas to athplan@gwu.edu. Thank you for your continued support of GW athletics.

Robert Chernak is Senior Vice Provost and Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services. Chair, Athletics Steering Committee.

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