Members of the University of Connecticut women’s rowing team marched across campus on Monday to protest the school's decision to cut the program.
Current athletes marched in sports bras and spandex with “IX” written on their bodies in a nod to the Title IX complaint they've filed against the school.
Last week, lawyers representing the team sent a letter to the university stating that if the program is not reinstated, they would field a class action lawsuit and would seek an immediate injunction to reinstate the program.
The deadline for the university to respond was Monday.
In a statement, UConn said: “While the University certainly understands and appreciates the disappointment of those who supported the Women’s Rowing Team, we are confident that our actions in regard to that team and the other three eliminated teams were consistent with the University’s obligations under Title IX.”
Women’s rowing was one of four sports cut this summer in an effort to alleviate 25% of the school’s $42 million subsidy. The other teams were men’s tennis, men’s cross country and men’s swimming and diving.
Current members of the women’s rowing team said they had the backing of other programs which offered to make cuts if it meant saving the four eliminated programs.
“Each team was selfless and offered to take small bits of their budget and come together,” said Emily Torre, a sophomore on the women’s rowing team. “You know those were options that we tried to help, we tried to give them options and suggestions and they didn't really listen.”
Women’s rowing alumni have also filed a Title IX complaint against the school.
“There's a wealth of experience, knowledge, ideas in this community that could help to find a solution that doesn't involved cutting any sports and we were never given that chance,” said Kathy Les, who rowed at UConn and is now an assistant coach.
UConn said Monday it will not revisit the decision to eliminate the women’s rowing team or any of the other three eliminated teams.