Athletes petition for recognition, change in commencement

California Baptist University is reviewing a petition to provide sashes of recognition upon graduation to student-athletes

Paizlee Dreyer, senior communication studies major and driver on the women’s water polo team, began the process of her petition her freshman year after being told CBU did not recognize student-athletes during graduation.

“I have been wanting to be a college athlete since I was a young girl and so coming in (to CBU) I had always wondered why we didn’t get sashes,” Dreyer said. “It’s been a goal of mine to graduate as a four-year college athlete and have that recognized.”

After discussing the idea of a petition with Brittany McWaid, senior public relations major, and other athletes, Dreyer found the athletes had a similar stance on the matter.

“It’s something we feel we should be recognized for,” Dreyers said. “The hard work we put into this school and how many hours we put into get our grades right and be eligible and be on a sports team is something we feel needs to be seen and recognized; it’s been a goal of ours forever.”

Dreyer received responses from CBU alumni, current student-athletes at CBU and student-athletes from other states.

After being shared through various social media platforms, the positive responses created the support needed to advance the petition.

Dreyer contacted Kent Dacus, vice president of enrollment and student services, to discuss the next steps for the petition.

“The students who produced the proposal did a wonderful job,” Dacus said. “It was well thought out, had good reasoning and gave a good argument for having athletes wear sashes.”

The petition has already been reviewed by Dacus and has been sent forward to the Executive Council. The proposal is to be reviewed and decided within the next month.

Although the council’s answer has not been received, Dreyer said this is the perfect time to approve the sashes as the athletic teams will transition to  NCAA Division I in 2018.

Other athletes, including some alumni, agree with the petition and wish they would have received recognition upon graduating.

“The petition is the right thing to do because for so long athletes have been walking with no recognition at graduation after putting hundreds of hours of training representing this school,” said Brent Teraoka, alumnus and former driver for the men’s water polo team.

Teraoka said his efforts as a student-athlete were not recognized during his graduation.

“Since (graduation) I have nothing to show for graduating besides my cap and gown,” Teraoka said. “Having a sash that would signify me as being a student-athlete would have meant so much more to me because I could look at it and remember what I did at school. I wasn’t just a student, but a student-athlete.”

Regardless of the outcome of the petition, Dreyer said she hopes to leave student -thletes as well as non-athletes a message of self-worth.

“Never feel like you are a small person and you don’t have a word. Always feel like you have a say,” Dreyer said. “Whether it gets passed or not, it went far and I was speaking for all of us as athletes.”

The petition is currently active on change.org. It can be viewed or signed by searching “CBU athletes get sashes for graduation” on the site. The goal of the proposal is to have sashes worn by student-athletes at the 2017 spring commencement.

If the proposal passes, Dreyer, McWaid and the petition’s other signees will have succeeded in changing the way student-athletes are honored in graduation ceremonies from now on.

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