81°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Winter May Wash Us Out!

As you may have heard, the Division of Marine Operations (DMO) has taken steps towards outsourcing the UMB Sailing Program.

This program has been part of UMB since its move to the Harbor campus 35 years ago. It has faithfully provided students, faculty, and staff with free sailing instruction provided by undergraduate sailing instructors along with the opportunity to get certified to take boats out solo.

If the planned outsourcing happens, the Sailing Club Team will suffer greatly due to the laying off of Jason Leblanc, sail master for the program who doubles as our coach. He has generously given of his spare time and efforts. Also if we outsourced, the team would no longer have access to a maintenance facility for our three 420′ class race boats as well as other equipment.

The DMO stated that the Sailing Program is not bringing in revenue and as such is running in a deficit. All departments at UMB are in a tight spot with our current financial difficulties, but this is an erroneous claim for the DMO to be making as the program is funded through our student athletic fees and not from within DMO itself. Some years ago, Athletics decided to pass off the responsibility of the sailing program to the DMO who were seen as more able to oversee the program. As such, Athletics has forwarded the

Sailing Program budget to DMO every year, because they now oversee the operation and also hire and fire staff. Nevertheless, the Sailing Program is still an operation funded solely by Student Athletic Fees.

If sailing is outsourced, students likely will still have the opportunity to sail at same level. However we will not have a true collegiate sailing program focused on the students at UMB. A for-profit non-profit organization does not have the vested interest in the students. Our current program does.

Moreover the outsourcing of our Sailing Program is a microcosm of how student activities are being cut at all levels.

Despite low moral, the Sailing Team plans on fighting to stop the outsourcing of our dear program. We have met with Patrick Day, who has not been active in hearing us. And have begun collecting petition signatures.

Countless students have benefitted from taking free sailing lessons and this would be a tragic loss to our school. I believe the program can still be saved, but the students need to know and be able to take action before the winter break when the powers that be can quietly sink our program.

Tim Jones Treasurer UMB Sailing Team