UNE Public Relations Consultant Paper

Hello head faculty of the University of New England. It has come to my attention that in recent events, there has been a political issue amongst the athletes at your school. Before the games commence, these students have been taking a knee during the national anthem. While we do support freedom of speech and the rights of your students, these actions could have major fallbacks on the school. UNE has a strong reputation in academics and D3 athletics, along with a high enrollment rate considering the size of the school. These events could potentially ruin these reputations and negatively affect the schools enrollment rate, therefore decreasing annual income. Not only is this a threat to the school, these players are also endangering themselves. Other students, especially at the age they are, who may disagree with these opinions may outcast or reject these students, just as Colin Kaepernick was let go from the San Francisco 49ers. It is our job to find a compromise to this, allowing these students to continue to protest, but protect them and the school at the same time. This letter is to guide you through the problems of this situation, and show possible solutions to benefit all sides of the event.

Politics in sports has been a very controversial topic among the last couple decades. Certain events have taken this topic to a much further level rather than just being something that can be dismissed by the general public. This has become a much more serious topic. 

This situation really started growing after ex 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick was seen taking a knee on the field during the national anthem. His reason for doing this is to protest the amount of police brutality against African Americans in the United States. Although he has many supporters of this, including fellow teammates and players from other teams, this sparked major outrage throughout the entire country. Many people saw this as disrespectful and unamerican. And although Kaepernick got major fallback on this event, including his release form the 49er’s, he never gave into it and stood by his beliefs. And every citizen has the right to protest. But these events spread fast. Other teams were seen taking knees. The Pittsburgh Steelers refused to leave their locker rooms until the anthem had ended. I have even noticed students in schools who refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance. These players have influence on these students and these students may have influence on other students. It is our school’s job to make sure that students are satisfied and won’t have to do these dangerous acts. The point I’m trying to get across is that anyone who has protested the national anthem has received heavy backlash for their actions. They were not only criticized by the common folk, but by media and news outlets as well.  It would be quite problematic if the school were to experience that same type of hit.

With an event such as this one, it is clear that there will be large effects to the school and to the students. It is clear that this could have heavy issues that will affect the school negatively. The University of New England has strong reputations for its academic success and physical prowess in Division 3 athletics. These reputations are the reason that this school has a high enrollment rate which allows it to stay successful. If this event were to have its full effect, the school could suffer. With these coming into play, the schools enrollment rate would decrease at a large scale, and the university will take financial hits and may not be able to sustain itself.

The enrollment rate is another massive problem that has come up multiple times in this writing. Without the proper rate of income, this school will not be able to sustain itself. This is because nearly all of the university money is from tuition of the students, while the rest is fundraisers or similar events. This school will not be able to survive if we cannot keep our students motivated to behave in sports and academics, while still allowing them to protest.

Another way that these protests could affect this school is in its academics. With the freedom that college offers, students are able to skip classes with little repercussions until they do it in large amounts. Students who are in protest may skip out on class as a part of protest, or to go to protests. This lack of attendance could hurt the schools academic reputations to a point where no one’s going to want to send their children to a school that has no control over its students. Our professors are not going to be able to properly teach our students if the students do not attend the class.

Not only will this affect the university’s reputations, but it could hurt the students as well. Professional athletes have been taking major hits from the public and the media. If this same backlash were to come to the student, whether it be from fans, media, or even their peers, it could cause some sort of trauma to the students. In many cases, especially in school, kids are known to get physical when they have a strong disagreement in something. If something like this were to happen, both the students and the school would be in trouble. It is crucial that we find a way that will not threaten the students or the school, while still allowing them to openly protest for what they believe in.

If such a thing were to happen, there are ways to resolve these problems. One way that this can be handled is to listen to what people are saying. Why are these students protesting? What are supporters and objectors saying about this? People protest because they believe that something needs to be changed. Now if a student is protesting it is important for us to understand what it is and why. If they have something against what the school is doing, we should listen and try to comply. If they have something against the government, we should understand why it was brought to a university related event.

We also need to listen to the people who disagree with this thought process of the protester(s). If we make a change that upsets them, it could cause even more problems. It is crucial for us to understand why they disagree and what thoughts they may have on the situation. We, as a mediator, should not just take the input sides. We should do everything we can to make sure both sides are happy with the resolution.

There are different ways to go about solving this. After learning about all the contributing factors, the best choice is to find a solution for both sides. If it is possible to find a solution that both sides are happy with and can benefit everyone, then that is the first thing we must try. Perhaps we could offer the students different things to do, maybe before or after the anthem, that they can still get their points across, without risking backlash from anyone else. If we could come up with some sort of gesture that can portray the same message without as much weight, perhaps that could satisfy both sides. If this isn’t a possible solution, or one of the sides is not happy, there are other options. Another possible solution is to hold some sort of event for not just our students, but students of surrounding schools are also invited, in which they are able to get their voices out to the public and state their opinions. It is also important that if possible, delay the actions of the protesters until a resolution is possible. This is to prevent any increasing tension in hopes that it doesn’t escalate beyond what is easy to handle.

Now while there are things that we can do, there are also things we cannot do. These things include ignoring one side of the debate. The university can and will only survive this is if there is a resolution that all sides are happy with. Another thing we should not do is ignore the situation. If we were to pretend that this wasn’t important enough, it could hurt the students and the school. It is important that we jump onto any and all problems and find a solution as soon as possible

As well respected individuals and important people to this university, I trust that you will do the right thing if an event like this were to become an issue. I have given all the input on the situation that you may need and hope that it was able to assist you effectively

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