Joseph A. Twarog: Criticizes Smith College for closing horse barn

  • jacoblund

Sunday, January 14, 2018
Criticizes Smith Collegefor closing horse barn

Smith College ended the year of 2017 on a sour note when it held an auction Dec. 30 to sell off whatever it could of the former on-campus horse barn facility on West Street.

In 2017, the college downgraded the equestrian program from a varsity sport to a club sport. If that was not enough, Smith shut down the horse barn where students stabled their horses. The students had been able to walk to that barn. But now the students and the equestrian team have to drive some 27 miles one way to get to the barn that Smith is now using. I may be missing something, but how does that benefit the students?

To further add insult to injury, Smith also terminated the community riding program (Fox Meadow Farm) that was based out of the barn. So much for good community relations. This whole episode is a black eye for Smith. The college has an enormous endowment (approaching $2 billion), and I question why it could not find some money to sustain the barn in a manner convenient to the students and the community.

Smith is currently in the process of building a new library at an estimated cost of $100 million — and that of course is a good thing. However, participating in sports is also a critical piece of education and personal growth. The actions of Smith and its trustees are disgraceful and obscene. They discredit the college and dishonor the students and community.

The Smith College Athletics mission statement reads: “The mission of Smith College Department of Athletics and Recreation is to inspire the Smith Community to explore and discover their possibilities and develop leadership skills, teamwork, and confidence. We provide the means necessary to empower our students and members of the Smith community to achieve their goals through competitive and recreational endeavors.”

Apparently, providing the “means necessary to empower our students” includes making it more difficult for students to pursue their passions. Shame on Smith College.

Joseph A. Twarog