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Let us play basketball

| Wednesday, March 3, 2021

During the Feb. 16 town hall, hosted by vice president for Student Affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding and vice president for Campus Safety and University Operations Mike Seamon, Ms. Hoffmann Harding declared that “basketball is a no this semester” because it is “indoor, close contact.” I agree that playing basketball — pick-up games and the like — should obviously not be an approved activity. But on Feb. 19, I emailed Ms. Hoffmann Harding and Mr. Seamon with a followup question: Why can’t the basketball nets be available strictly for shooting around, e.g. two players max per hoop, bring your own ball? This, I know, is the policy at University of Illinois at Chicago, and I’m wondering why that situation would not work here. There are already plenty of staff monitors circulating regularly during gym hours, so I’m not seeing much of an oversight issue. Given the massive amount of airspace, relatively speaking, in the basketball portions of our gymnasia, I am hard-pressed to see from an epidemiological perspective, why this wouldn’t be as viable an activity as, say, exercising in the far more confined workout spaces, or racquetball activities or pickleball, etc.?

I received no response to my email. I followed up a week later on Feb. 26. Today is March 2, and I have yet to receive a response of any kind. This is not the transparency that students are owed in this difficult and frustrating time, and the administration should offer an explanation for what appears, at this moment, to be an arbitrary distinction between exercise activities. 


Phillip Spinella

graduate student

March 2

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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