Now SMITH COLLEGE wants to shut down their equestrian facility & demote varsity team

Horrific news for Smith alumnae, potential students and the IHSA.

The current administration of Smith College plans to shut down its equestrian facility after spring semester 2017 and demote the varsity team to club status, but have yet to succinctly explain the reasoning behind their decision to dismayed alumnae.

A Facebook page called “Save Smith College Equestrian Facility and Team” has been created to mobilize/organize alumnae with the goal of reversing the inexplicable decision to shut down a fully-functional and recently renovated stable with adjoining indoor riding arena, which features a new viewing room that was made possible by a donor only a few years ago. The page already has almost 550 members and continues to grow daily. The facility offers boarding and riding lessons on school horses to both students and the local community, and is the base of the college’s varsity riding team.

If someone you know is a Smith alumn, please spread the word and ask them to join the FB page to urge the administration and Board of Trustees to reverse this terrible decision.

Wow. That would be a terrible decision…And I’m a Lyon. I don’t like it.

I actually was accepted to Smith as well, which is only pertinent in so far as when I interviewed my smithee and I talked quite a bit about the equestrian programme. Many alums donate very very generously to the equestrian program. Very generously. I imagine many of them will be furious to see that money basically tossed away if the programme is dismantled. Of course, many of them are probably dead.

I hate to hear this. :frowning:

Coming from the world of single-sex liberal arts schools and inexplicable administrative decisions (I’m an SBC alum), all I can say is money talks. I hope alumnae and current students can organize, pool their resources, and make a solid pitch to the board.

Liking the FB page…

As far as I know, this has already been done and it’s not a decision up for reversal by community vote or whatever - that much was done in the background already to try to convince the school to retain the program and none of it was accepted.

Sadly, I doubt the college cares what the community wants. The college WILL care if the issue affects enough alumnae, students, parents, major donors and its reputation. News of this decision is just now hitting alumnae.

How is it that such major decisions are made without alumnae knowing about it?

I have no stake in this game, but I find this kind of thing smells like a rat. Sounds like the university didn’t want backlash so they went ahead with it knowing that if they kept it quiet they would have fewer problems and headaches.

How is it that such major decisions are made w/out alumnae knowing about it?

That’s exactly what the alumnae are demanding to know.

I have no stake in this game, but I find this kind of thing smells like a rat. Sounds like the university didn’t want backlash so they went ahead with it knowing that if they kept it quiet they would have fewer problems and headaches.

there must have been some closed door meeting somewhere that these colleges/universities leaders attended that they all decided to change course, that education was to be a side line of their schools

I went to the University of Louisville, supported the school until I started looking into just how the endowment fund was being run. I stopped providing any funding a few years ago as the fund was being run like a slot machine for the activities certain people. Just noticed that the school and the fund are both now under investigation after loosing a few hundred million dollars …

oh and begging for me to send more cash or escrow my real estate into their name, like sure that’s going to occur

More and more people are starting to realize the giant scam college and student loans are and it’s eating into the bottom lines of the private colleges. People are wising up and choosing not to pursue 4 year degrees at expensive private universities. Kinda hard to keep charging $$$$$ and continue having run down facilities and hiring adjunct staff that gets paid peanuts with no benefits and only a few years older then the students.

So when the money stops flowing from tuition and ticked off alumni (my school would constantly pull the bait on switch on what donations were going too), cuts have to be made, and it sure isn’t gonna be at the expense of the admins salaries.

Did not attend Smith. :wink: But I smell a bureaucratic “rat” in the announcement. The reasons given are perfectly general; likely perfectly true; and indeed perfectly meaningless.

This is being sold as an “accounting change” (move the program from the University budget to the Student Activity budget) with no functional change. The net result of that will be the body that administers the Student Activity budget will have a cow when they see how much an equestrian activity costs, and how few participate, and how much per/head they are spending. The end of the program is virtually certain.

If Smith wants out of the equestrian sports business they at least ought to have the moral courage to say so and end it. Now the administration has an excuse and when the ax falls they can blame the Student Affairs folks. One of the functions of the university is to develop a sense of honor and integrity in the student. Actions like this teach the benefits of dishonesty and mis-direction.

Academic administration at its finest. :frowning:


:frowning: I’m a Lyon too but spent several summers riding at the Smith barn. I’m stunned that they are considering this.

With all due respect, for those of you wondering why alumnae get some kind of stake in this…

if you weren’t supporting the program before, you are part of the problem, and saying that NOW you want the chance to support it is why programs like this are dying off.

It’s not like I, as an alumni, get some sort of voting rights on the board of the university where I got a degree. I am just…an alumni. Like a zillion other people. They occasionally hit me up for money, and sometimes send me some magazine that I don’t read about people I don’t know.

I didn’t go to Smith, but I’m local to the area and it’s not like we haven’t seen this coming for years.


G, yes, exactly. I taught at a school where it was club not sport, and the students really did have to fund everything.

Also alumnae have donated a lot over the years. I am wondering if this is an effort to redirect those and future donations.

I’m sick of collegiate sports wasting money. It’s not what college is about.

I went to the U. of Maryland…that school wasted millions of dollars on football, basketball and every sort of crap sport. The school demanded students pay an activity fee for these all to often criminals (football and especially basketball teams are rife with felons and rapists…at MD, the basketball coach, Lefty Driesel, told women raped by his players to “lie back and enjoy it”…yes, he was fired) to play with balls on an expensive field. Never went to a game while there, I was going to school.

I’d prefer all collegiate sports become intermural, no money support by the college and no scholarships for these “athletes”. It’s not the function of colleges to field a riding team, or basketball or football either.

@ladyj: I’m sure it is. The college I went to STRONGLY recommends that alumni donations go into a “general fund”. I’m not surprised - then the college can do almost whatever they want with the money.

I’ve never donated anything to a general fund and never will. Whenever I donate to anything, whether it be a college or something else, I only do it when I have some choice over what the money is spent on.

Does anyone know what the plans for the actual facility are?
Is Smith planning on selling off the real estate?

Does anyone know what the plans for the actual facility are?
Is Smith planning on selling off the real estate?[/QUOTE]

Community riding will continue through the summer, no further plans than that at this time.

Petition and website are now up:

The equestrian center was built and maintained with significant alumnae donor funds and support.

Follow the money.

I suggest someone in the Smith Alumnae community get access to the Smith financials, endowment and enrollment figures…for at least the last 3-5 years. And look them over closely for trends.

The Sweetbriar College closing was “couched” as an irreversible financial crisis. When the SB books were inspected insights emerged that the declared financial crisis was due to mismanagement of the college and could have been averted…as those alums were able to do.

If Smith is going down some “slippery trail” of financial mismanagement…throw the light of day on it…and see what reactions you get.