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Letter: Budget cuts cost UND a piece of its soul

The cutting of women's hockey and the diving and swimming programs will be a major loss to UND. Since the inception of UND's women hockey team in 2002, it has produced 10 Olympic athletes, seven of whom have medaled. The diving and swimming team ...

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The cutting of women's hockey and the diving and swimming programs will be a major loss to UND. Since the inception of UND's women hockey team in 2002, it has produced 10 Olympic athletes, seven of whom have medaled. The diving and swimming team has historically brought home championships, titles and all-time records.

Both programs attracted students whose dreams were to become athletes for UND.

In North Dakota, we sometimes forget our young adults and the stamina, enthusiasm and hard work they bring to our state and economy. I am 25, and I can attest that we young people have much to learn and value from our elders. I am also a third-generation UND alum, and I can attest that for many people, these budget cuts mean losing a dream.

The more you love your university, the harder it is to be told that you'll no longer have a place at its table. Plus, some students heard about the cuts through a Twitter leak, and were left questioning the way UND communicates with its students and the public.

I hope that UND does not forget the spirit of these athletes, the reputation they and their athleticism built and the role models they have provided for young people in the community-myself included.

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I also would like to respond to Forum Communications columnist Rob Port's assertion that " not very many people like women's hockey. " I know that women's hockey games do not have the draw of men's hockey. Remember, though, that the men's hockey program started in 1946 and has had 71 years to become a North Dakota phenomenon.

Women's hockey has existed at UND for only 15 years. Given time, the sport could have grown to be at least as well accepted as women's basketball-and a tremendous asset to UND, given the caliber of players it has produced.

Laura Slaathaug

Grand Forks

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