By Samantha Samant
The homecoming football game and pep rally are traditionally events that inspire school spirit. This year was different. Student turn out was dismal at the events. Approximately 20 students attended the pep rally, which was run as a BBQ on Riggs Lawn instead of the usual school spirit celebration at the Pratt Recreation Center or Bethpage Credit Union stadium.
Due to the announcement on Oct. 3 of the LIU Post and LIU Brooklyn athletic team merger, many students chose to boycott homecoming events.
Matthew Blanar, associate director of events for the office of campus life, and Jean Anne Smith, associate dean of students, said they were unaware of any boycotts, and therefore could not respond to the Pioneer’s questions about it.
Asia Turner, a freshman broadcasting major and member of the women’s basketball team, supported the boycott. “I think that it’s the least we can do, honestly, because we don’t want anything to get out of hand,” she said. “What the university did to us was not okay.”
In addition to boycotting the homecoming events, students have signed an online petition on Change.org about the athletic program merger.
“My teammate, Natalie Hickman, actually started a petition and it has over 4,200 signatures to let the president see the merge and how many people it’s hurting rather than helping,” Turner said. She believes drawing attention to the student concerns will help.
Jessica Competiello, a freshman art education major, although not a student athlete, is friends with athletes on campus.
“I don’t agree with what happened with the athletes, but I think boycotting events won’t do anything,” she said. She believes that the affected students should show the promise coaches or the administration how affected their lives had been.
“If that means making videos of teammates all together or speaking directly to ad- ministration as like a group of people,” she said. “Go out there to show how upset you are.”
Football player Terrelle Cyrus, a freshman finance major, is also sympathetic to the concerns of other athletes on campus and feels that their actions are justified. “I’m not against it; I feel like they have a right to feel
the way they feel, and to express themselves,” Cyrus said. “Honestly, they could continue what they’re doing. Letters always help; getting support from communities outside of Post can help as well,” he added.
Football player Greg Powell, a sophomore psychology major, believes the abrupt nature of the announcement has led to more concern. “I really don’t know how I feel about it,” he said. “It doesn’t really affect my sport, but I under- stand why people are doing what they’re doing at the moment.”
Amber Wright, a junior biotech major and rugby player, supports her fellow athletes as well. “I think it’s understandable, it’s a very upsetting thing for a lot of people because you know they came here to play the sport that they’re playing, and now a lot of them are being told ‘you’re not going to be on the team anymore, after this fall’,” She also suggested that the student athletes talk to their local media and bring attention to the issue so that students cannot be ignored.
The Pioneer covered the responses to the merger first, in the Oct. 10 articles “Game Changer: Athletics Becomes ‘OneLIU’,” “Emergency Meeting Pulls Athletes from Class,” and “Students, Faculty Petition Against OneLIU.”
Anton Media Group published a similar article in their newspapers on Oct. 19, “LIU ‘Unifies’ Athletics Programs.”
Newsday followed with their Oct. 20 article, “Consolidation of LIU Post and Brooklyn athletic teams catches students off guard.”