Dear Members of the UW Community:
As preparations for the November 18 football game against UCLA continue, some have questioned whether the disruption attendant to playing a game mid-week makes a statement about the University’s values (i.e., sports versus academics and research). While I certainly understand such a question, I want to restate that the core academic mission of the University is paramount and that we have approached this game by doing all we can to minimize the disruption to our academic and research programs, while recognizing that it cannot be eliminated entirely. The decision to play a mid-week game was made last April on the basis of the visibility a nationally televised game would bring to our University. Holding the game on a weekday actually costs the athletic department money since it must mitigate the impacts on our community. But it was thought the investment was worth the exposure for our programs.
Our University has not hosted a mid-week football game at Husky Stadium since 1939, so this has been a learning experience for us. We are finding out a great deal about what it takes to hold such a game. Any decisions about future football games that might be held on a weekday will be made only after wide consultation and with the benefit of all that we learn from this experience.
In the meantime, I want to tell you about some of the steps being taken to deal with parking on campus. The athletic department is chartering buses for 20,000 people who otherwise would drive to the game, and we have also negotiated to pay Metro to allow anyone with a UW ID to travel fare-free on Metro buses on November 18th.
With regard to those of you who have parking permits, most will be able to park in their regular spots on campus on November 18th. Some will be affected by the increased parking demand associated with the game, in particular those with permits for east campus. To help alleviate those impacts, 100 spaces have been allocated in the Central Parking Garage for faculty who are scheduled to teach afternoon classes and do not have the flexibility in their schedules to ride buses or use alternate means of transportation. The deans’ offices will be working to identify faculty in need of these spaces. In addition, there is some flexibility in the parking system to handle needs on a case by case basis, which may entail being assigned to a different parking lot for the day. Commuter Services has created a website as a central source for information about commuter options on November 18th, including a list of FAQs.
I apologize for the inconvenience this causes for many of you and hope that we can all work with those across campus who have been striving very hard to minimize the disruption to our University community. I greatly appreciate your cooperation and patience.
Phyllis M. Wise