Protesters Oppose Cuts at Eastern Michigan

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Eastern Michigan University’s recent decision to cut four sports is being met with resistance from those who say the cuts are unjustified.

A group of over 100 protesters held a rally in front of EMU’s Welch Hall on Friday to show their opposition to the school’s slashing of its wrestling, men's swimming, softball and women's tennis programs.

Eagles swimming alumnus Kevin Doak told Michigan Live the fight opposing the cuts is just beginning. "I am excited to be here," Doak told the crowd. "We are going to continue to push this thing. I am excited to get started fighting the administration. These cuts are wrong."

Retired Washtenaw County Circuit Judge Donald Shelton, who also served on the EMU Board of Regents from 1987-90 was on hand. "I'm not talking about blaming the board, but an alternative is, let's start this decision over again and let's do it publicly," Shelton said. "Let's get input from all these people who have different viewpoints. Let's consider other alternatives, and let's do it publicly."

EMU said in a statement that the decision to cut the four sports is final. "It is not being revisited and was a final decision at that time," the release states. "It's important to reiterate that the reduction of sports was a painful process, in which a central consideration was the future of the affected student-athletes. The release noted that EMU will honor scholarships from affected student-athletes who wish to remain at EMU until they graduate.

Shelton said that the group will likely pursue a Title IX lawsuit. "The big one is Title IX," Shelton said of a possible legal action. "You can't drop women's sports at an institution that had 62 percent female population and say you are compliant with Title IX.”

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