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SEAS Move Will Benefit Athletes by Shifting College’s Center of Gravity, Scalise Says

Harvard Athletics Director Robert L. Scalise speaks about academic resources for student athletes.
Harvard Athletics Director Robert L. Scalise speaks about academic resources for student athletes. By Jonathan G. Yuan
By Ema R. Schumer, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard Athletics Director Robert L. Scalise said he welcomes the new opportunities for student-athletes that will come when the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences joins the Athletics Department on the other side of the Charles river, completing its imminent move to Allston.

As Harvard gears up for the unveiling of its new Science and Engineering Complex in June 2020, some undergraduates have cited concerns about the remote location of the campus, which will sit just over a mile from Harvard Yard in Allston.

But in an interview Tuesday, Scalise said he believes SEAS’s new location will shift the College’s center of gravity closer to the areas where student-athletes spend much of their time.

“For us in athletics, it's going to make our activity a little bit closer to the center, rather than more of an outpost,” he said.

Scalise also said SEAS’s relocation to Allston will infuse ongoing conversations about student-athletes’ concerns — including scheduling and food accessibility — with greater relevance to the College more broadly.

He added that he believes these logistical conversations will have the potential to improve the day-to-day lives of Harvard’s student-athletes.

“It really depends what the University and the College decide to do. It may actually make it easier for athletics because it may actually make it easier for people to get meals, it may make it — give them more time to get between classes,” he said.

Still, Scalise said he remains concerned that certain course offerings will continue to conflict with athletes’ obligations to their sports.

“The issue for us though is that — when courses are offered. And there's going to have to be some sort of discussions on when specific courses might be offered so that athletes are not excluded from taking those courses and fulfilling their athletic commitments,” he said.

Scalise said his department — which is nestled between the College’s central campus in Cambridge and the forthcoming SEAS complex — is considering repurposing some of its space into classrooms and food stations to ensure a seamless transition for all undergraduates.

“That would make it convenient for athletes but it also would make it convenient for all students,” he said.

—Staff writer Ema R. Schumer can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @emaschumer.

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CollegeStudent LifeSEASAllstonDepartment of Athletics