HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Student-athletes at the University of Hartford taking a stand Wednesday night. They rallied in front of campus, protesting the school’s decision to downgrade from Division I to Division III.
The 1,300+ flags represent the different sports from baseball to softball to lacrosse and track. The student-athletes on these teams are very upset that the school is downgrading from Division I to Division III. The flags are in protest asking the president of the school to step down.
Milena Wilton, a softball player at UHart told News 8, “The flags, they represent everyone who signed a petition to have [President] Woodward either resign or removed from his position as president. They represent so much more than that. They represent the blood sweat and tears that we put into this program and everything we worked for, for the last few years in the last year. And that’s been taken away from us.”
Though the transition from Division I to Division III will be gradual over several years, student-athletes said Wednesday their hard work and legacy at the school should not be taken away.
Jack Gorman, a baseball player, said, “We wake up every morning and put the University of Hartford on our chest, and we do everything we can for the school, make a good look for the school, do everything: blood, sweat, and tears into our sport. And I feel like we were disrespected by all of the higher-ups in our school. We were kept out of the loop. We do everything we can for the school and they don’t give anything back to us.”
“It’s very insulting because the student-athletes here have the highest GPA of any group on campus,” Milena added. “And believe it or not, student-athletes don’t wanna be here right now, in front of campus on a Wednesday night in the middle of finals week. We don’t want to be doing this, and it’s an embarrassment that we have to be doing it.”
Robert Carmody, also of the baseball team, said, “We just wanna be heard and we feel like we haven’t been and we feel like this whole process has been handled with little integrity and has been disrespectful to all of us so we’re letting everybody know we are fighting back and we are doing everything we can to change the decision.”
The athletes say of the flags and the petitioning, they are going to keep this up and keep going until they get action or response from the president of the university.
In a statement last week, UHart President Greg Woodward said, “The University of Hartford owes so much to the generations of student-athletes and athletics staff.”