Men’s rowing captain asks court to restore team’s varsity status – The GW Hatchet

The captain of the men’s rowing team on Wednesday filed a request for an injunction that would require the university to restore the team’s varsity status.

Patrick George’s request is similar to an urgent restraining order filed by George, who has been a member of the rowing team since 2018, last week, which a judge rejected last Thursday. The new motion was supplemented with statements from two of George’s head rowing coaches – Mark Davis and Eric Gehrke – who each backed George’s claims and said they were puzzled by GW’s decision to limit men’s rowing.

“I didn’t think Men’s Rowing would be cut because our team met many metrics within the GW community including: We had high male enrollment and GW wanted to increase the percentage of male attendees,” Gehrke said in the documents. “We had high STEM enrollment and GW was keen to improve STEM programs at the university, we had strong alumni representation and we were regularly one of GW’s top ranked sports nationally.”

Officials planned to reduce GW’s student population by 20 percent while increasing the share of STEM majors to 30 percent, but later said the pandemic made the plan “obsolete.”

The men’s varsity rowing team was one of seven varsity team officials to be fired in August 2020 over “growing financial concerns” they say were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The termination came into effect after the conclusion of the 2020/21 season. Following the announcement, program alumni offered to fund the program to protect its varsity status, but the university declined the alumni’s offer without explanation.

Anand Ramana, George’s lawyer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tim Pierce, a spokesman for the university, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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