DANCE TEAM REMOVED FROM SIDLINES
Student Organization No Longer Allowed at Athletic Events
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 17:09
Cheerleaders, Marching Band, Thundar and of course, the athletes; these are the main ingredients that make up any Bison sporting event. However, there is now one part missing from that equation: the Bison Dance Team.
NDSU’s back-to-back National Champion Dance Team will no longer be allowed to perform at any school Athletic events.
According to Hilary Haugeberg, Executive Commissioner of the Congress of Student Organizations, the decision was reached due to continued confusion regarding the status of the Bison Dance Team as a student organization and not an official athletic team.
Despite being listed under NDSU’s Official Site of Athletics, the Bison Dance Team is strictly considered a student organization. According to the team’s constitution, they operate through team dues, fundraising activities and a set amount of funds allocated by student government.
“It was basically just a lot of confusion between what is an organization and what is covered under athletics, so that’s why they’re not going to be performing anymore,” explained Haugeberg.
In order to gain a better understanding of the situation, Student Body President Robbie Lauf, Vice President of Student Affairs Prakash Mathew and Haugeberg met with the dance team’s coach Meghan Wabner and three of the dancers on two separate occasions.
The dance team had been allotted three hours every Wednesday evening at the Bison Sports Arena to practice. Haugeberg stated that at times the team violated its practice agreement, which is one reason that ultimately led to the current situation.
“These arguments and issues have been going on for quite a long time and they just kind of bubbled up now,” she explained. “It is across the board that organizations are not allowed to practice in the BSA, and there were issues that were crossed with that and the previous agreements that they had had.”
As a facet of Student Government, the Congress of Student Organizations exists to help all organizations in any way they can. Haugeberg said that she and the rest of student government will do whatever they can to help the dance team locate more practice spaces and to get them through the situation.
“The girls are disappointed that they’re not going to be able to perform, but they are so positive, and they are so motivated,” she said of the team.
Coach Wabner released an official statement last week. She described the decision to exclude them from athletic events as “incredibly unfortunate,” but she explained that her team will continue to participate at community and school events.
“While this is immensely disappointing for us and our fans we will still be there representing NDSU,” she stated. “We absolutely love North Dakota State University and will continue to represent this community with pride and passion!”
The team of dancers follows a strict set of guidelines and policies regarding attendance, practice, personal presentation and health expectations.
Their dedication has consistently led them to the Universal Dance Association’s College Cheerleading and Dance Team Championship, and has garnered them the first place title for the past two years.
“These girls are absolutely amazing and inspire me daily with their athleticism and grace,” Wabner said. “I am honored to coach them.”
Wabner stressed that she and her team will continue to practice and perform in order to defend their title as National Champions at next year’s competition.
As for if and when the Bison Dance Team will return to the field, the future is optimistic but unclear.
“Hopefully down the road, things will be different and if the relationships can be mended, I don’t see why not,” Haugeberg said. “I think that Athletics and the Bison Dance Team need to take a little bit of a break, and I think they acknowledge that, too.”