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The Dartmouth
May 27, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Letter to the Editor: A Member of the Men’s Basketball Team Speaks Out In Opposition To Unionization

Responding to the men’s basketball team’s decision to unionize, Connor Christensen ’25 provides an alternative viewpoint.

Re: Men’s basketball team votes to unionize

I am a rising senior on the Dartmouth men’s basketball team. I’ve decided to shed light on an opposing viewpoint from within the team — a viewpoint of which, I believe, few Dartmouth and Ivy League alumni have been made aware. Not all players on the Dartmouth men’s basketball team support the strategy of unionization to push for compensation and other benefits. Since the union’s conception, I have approached the prospect with an open mind. Part of what makes a Dartmouth education singular is the opportunity it presents to engage with opinions and ideas that are new, foreign and contradict your own. As a friend and teammate, I found it important to listen to and evaluate the proposition and the possibilities associated with unionization. 

However, over time, my feelings about the team’s decision have become clear. I believe that the movement opposes the core values and traditions of Dartmouth athletics — the balance between a rich academic history and competitive athletics — and may lead to unintended consequences for athletes across the College. Given the various levels of sport and the diversity of programs under the College’s umbrella, I believe unionization would be undesirable, an inadequate fit that fails to bring about positive benefits for most athletes at Dartmouth.

While basketball and football are revenue-driving sports for many teams in the NCAA, athletic programs at Dartmouth are not known for generating revenue. My team’s decision may, therefore, yield undesirable consequences if unionization becomes widespread. As many have noted, non-revenue-producing sports programs at the College may be forced to reckon with program and budget cuts. Likewise, I fear that other Dartmouth teams may face unfair pressure to unionize to achieve uniformity at the College. An additional concern is how Dartmouth will comply with Title IX if only one side of a sports program can collectively bargain with the College.

Ultimately, unions exist to protect people from being taken advantage of. I, however, do not feel exploited by Dartmouth. It is an honor to represent the College and attend an institution with world-class academics and prestige. While there are obvious downsides to attending a college that does not offer athletic scholarships, countless alumni have recognized the upsides of being a Dartmouth student-athlete for decades. While my personal opinions do not align with the team’s decision, I plan to remain with the team. It is a privilege to represent the College and the alumni of this extraordinary institution, and I take pride in carrying forward the deep tradition of the College for future generations of students.

“It is [...] a small college, and yet there are those who love it.”

Lest the old traditions fail,

Connor Christensen

Connor Christensen ’25 is a forward on the Dartmouth men’s basketball team. Letters to the Editor represent the views of their author(s), which are not necessarily those of The Dartmouth.