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The Voice: SHU should reward success, not mediocrity

Seton Hall has had many successful, and not so successful, teams over the years. Most noted would be the 1989 men's basketball team that made it to the NCAA Championship game. Last year, Seton Hall witnessed the end to a few of the most successful athletic programs, indoor and outdoor track and field.

Too often our University has cut funding and disbanded successful programs because they do not generate revenue or increase the school's national profile. It is ironic that, with all the focus on and funding for mediocre Seton Hall athletic programs, one of the most successful teams at SHU is one that is underfunded, unrecognized and academic.

One of the most decorated teams, the Brownson Speech Team here at Seton Hall consists of eight students with three coaches and their director. Half of the team is new this year. In the past five years, Brownson has placed lower than the top 15 only once at the American Forensics Association's National Tournament. That was last year when Brownson placed 21st.

Despite the team's recent successes, Associate Professor of Communication and Director of Forensics Catherine Zizik said the team has had the same travel budget since 1986, a year after Brownson switched formats from policy debate to speech events. Two years ago, after taking 15th at the national tournament, the team had their travel budget slashed by 58% and coaching stipends cut in half, Zizik said in an e-mail interview.

The Setonian believes it is highly unfortunate that Seton Hall does not make an effort to showcase the successes of teams like Brownson. We also find it disheartening that the University likewise does not support successful teams. Despite consistently outperforming larger and more well-funded teams at nationals, Brownson has not had a budget increase in twenty-five years. Instead, the budget was slashed.

Successful teams, academic or athletic, like Brownson should be showcased. They should be recruitment tools. They should be rewarded. Instead, Seton Hall marginalizes Brownson and eliminated the Track team.

The Setonian is forced to ask, why Seton Hall insists on ignoring excellence in favor of encouraging mediocrity, such as our recent basketball teams. Sure the mediocre teams might generate more revenue right now, but why not play to our strengths, build on what we do well and create a robust recruitment tool that highlights Seton Hall's talent and accomplishments, either on the field or in the classroom.


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