Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
In a press conference yesterday, Dean Larribach announced that the college would be simultaneously eliminating the Music Department and reinstating the football program. The college hopes that such a plan will reduce expenses and increase revenue in the long run.
These actions are in a direct response to the endowment’s huge loss. President James Block stated that the college will save over 5 million next year from the elimination of music. Approximately 30 college employees will be laid off. Additionally, the Lang Music Building will be chained shut at the end of the academic year.
According to Block, the savings in utilities and maintenence for the Lang Music Building and Underhill Library had not been factored into the savings next year. He also noted that the college will make a “hefty profit from selling all those pianos in Lang.”
“And honestly,” he noted, “it doesn’t help recruiting efforts when were on a list of the worst football teams of all time.”
In the press release, the administration stated that “despite its entertainment value, music is not academically relevant in this period.” The press release also concluded that music often had values that “were not in accordance with the college’s Quaker values.”
A significant portion of the money saved from the cut will go toward reinstating Swarthmore’s football program, which was eliminated in 2000. President Block announced that aggressive recruitment practices will begin next year while walk on tryouts will be held next month. He also noted that alumni donations will increase dramatically with the emergence of a strong football program. Alumni Relations Director Ann Katrina reported “I have already gotten dozens of calls from football alumni pledging money.”
To help with the establishment of the football program, Swarthmore’s Athletic Department plans to cut men’s soccer entirely. Under the department’s plan, all current soccer players will form the backbone of Garnet football. The soccer team has been generally receptive upon hearing of the soccer team’s dismantlement. Men’s Soccer Coach Widener remarked, “the two games are practically identical; in fact, the Europeans call soccer ‘football.’” A current soccer player noted “American football obviously is not terribly difficult: you can pick up the ball with your hands!”