By Jennifer Ives
Daly Field finally opened on Sep. 10 after five years of planning and over 5 million dollars spent developing the field in conjunction with Brighton High School and the City of Boston. The value of having our own field for athletes to practice and play on has been used as a huge advertising push, emphasizing how our female athletes get the best equipment, the best times, and the best fields. The co-partnership has been advertised as allowing the local community to utilize the field when Simmons doesn’t need it, increasing its overall usability and value, as well as helping us give back to the community.
Part of the advantage of having a home field is that the Simmons field hockey and soccer teams have designated locker rooms for Simmons usage only, allowing them to store equipment on site instead of transporting everything both ways via long bus ride, as well as giving them a communal space in which to relax, bond, and feel at home. However, in early September, the teams were informed that Brighton High School’s male football team wanted usage of the Simmons locker rooms in order to host visiting teams during home games. Additionally, they want the Simmons field hockey team to end Friday practices early over half a dozen times over the course of the semester, so that their Brighton football players can have more time to prep with their balls, cutting into our ability to adequately prepare for upcoming games.
Why was the 5 million dollar facility designed without adequate facilities to host visiting teams if that was a capability that Brighton desired? The project took over five years to envision and complete, and this issue didn’t occur to them until after it’s completion and grand opening? Why can’t the teams share Brighton’s assigned locker rooms as presumably any visiting teams will share Simmons?
Simmons likes to emphasize that going to a women-centric college means that the school is committed to putting its female students first, in every sense of the word. But by bowing to Brighton High School’s requests at the expense of our students, it seems that Simmons is more concerned with our public image of being cooperative and flexible than they are with the well-being of their stressed and highly competitive athletes who already endure long bus rides and early wake-ups as a result of the location of the new field.
Simmons athletes have responded to this disappointing situation by launching an online petition on Sep. 9, before the grand opening event happened on the 10th, to maintain sole custody of their locker rooms. The petition has so far garnered over 400 signatures from Simmons community members. The administration should be sensitive enough to student concerns and needs that petitions shouldn’t be necessary in order to get them to take us seriously. And the administration has publicly said nothing about the situation, preferring apparently to pretend that everyone is blissfully happy with the current arrangement.
If Simmons truly wants to be a women-centric college that puts its students first, then it needs to acknowledge that student athletes do a lot to raise the profile and reputation of the college on a state and national level. If Simmons really wants to advertise heavily about how they put women first, then they need to put their money where their mouths are.
If you’d like to support the Simmons athletes by signing their petition, you can find it at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/sharksneedatank.