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Thomas Meets with Rodeo, Theater
LEWISTON-Lewis-Clark State College President Dene Thomas will meet with the college's
rodeo team and supporters this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. in the Williams Conference Center.
Thomas scheduled the meeting to address concerns of student team members, their parents,
and respond to statements from the coach and supporters.
Thomas hopes to clarify information about the program and its future on the LCSC campus.
Rodeo supporters have described the cost of the program to the college as being small, and
its benefits to students and the local economy as substantial.
Thomas and LC administrators have been struggling to revise operating plans in the wake of
successive budget holdbacks. Earlier this month, Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne announced
his recommendation for a fiscal year 2003 holdback of nearly 11%, affecting Idaho colleges
and universities. The state legislature has yet to take action regarding the final
holdback amount, and administrators are still working without an official number.
His announcement followed a series of holdbacks and reflect lagging state revenues. In
September and November lat year, higher education institutions were notified of 3% budget
holdbacks for the remainder of their fiscal year. Public schools (K-12) were also directed
to trim 2.5 % from their budgets; however, the governor has said he will exempt K-12
schools from additional holdbacks in 2002-2003.
Thomas had earlier announced plans to cut two athletic programs-golf and the women's rodeo
team, and indicated the intent to consider eliminating the theater program as well. She
said the choices were being made according to what the college could afford to do.
"We have a new budget situation to live with," she said. "It's no longer a
matter of whether we'll have to cut programs; it's a matter of which ones. We don't have
the luxury of supporting every program we want to."
She went on to say that, for the greatest benefit, the college needs to keep its strong
programs strong. Across-the-board cuts do not serve that purpose, and do nothing to help
already weak, under-funded programs. "We have not been able to adequately support
rodeo as a team sport and the budget picture won't help change that fact," she said,
noting that LC's rodeo team is the only intercollegiate rodeo program among the four-year
schools in the region. Thomas said she is looking into ways to continue the rodeo
experience for LC students by offering it as a club sport. Rodeo is offered as a club
sport at the University of Idaho, Boise State and Idaho State.
Tuesday, January 22, supporters of the rodeo and theater programs staged a rally on the
campus to draw attention to their concerns. Coincidentally, Thomas and other top
administrators were in Boise presenting their case to legislators and the Joint Finance
and Appropriations Committee. Thomas scheduled the meetings to occur as soon she returned
to Lewiston. Her meeting with rodeo supporters is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today, with the
meeting regarding theater scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday.