Tziona Breitbart '16Assistant News Editor
The Smith quidditch team may be participating in its last season along with other single-sex colleges. As of July 1, 2013, Smith quidditch will no longer be allowed to compete in their league due to a new Intercollegiate Quidditch Association (IQA) ruling. The IQA ruling removed the single-sex institution exemption, thereby stating that all teams must have at least two players that are of different gender identities than the other players.
The Smith quidditch team has found multiple ways to express their disappointment and resentment about this new ruling.
“This spring, we started a petition on Change.org to have them reinstate the exemption for single-sex institutions and sent out a letter to as many of the other teams’ e-mails as we could find, as well as a formal letter to send to the IQA,” said Co-Captain Emily DiPadova.
As of now, the petition has over 1,000 signatures and is continuing to grow. According to Co-Captain Gabrielle Martone, the team will also be having a “Support Smith Quidditch” photo shoot and will be selling “Support Smith Quidditch” T-shirts and bracelets. On April 21, the team will host a quidditch tournament, during which they will have letters that people can sign and send to the IQA.
While the team has pressured the IQA tremendously, there has yet to be any change in the new ruling.
“I had a phone conference with the IQA on Thursday, and it was made very clear to me that this rule is here to stay and is not going anywhere. But as I let the IQA know, neither is Smith quidditch,” said Martone.
“In this call they made it clear that they will not change it back, and really only wanted us to conform to their wishes,” said DiPadova. “[The IQA believes] in their understanding of why they think getting rid of the single-sex institution exemption is important to the progression of quidditch as a sport. The IQA is not planning on changing anything about this, and while they believe that single-sex institutions’ missions and goals are admirable, they do not align with the IQA’s missions and goals.”
This ruling may only directly affect members of the Smith quidditch team, but the team believes it challenges what Smith students stand for.
“It is so important for the team and other Smithies to fight this ruling because this isn’t just about quidditch,” said DiPadova. “This is about our rights as women, and Smith’s rights as a single-sex institution to play sports. The IQA is telling us that because we do not have men, we can’t play quidditch. We aren’t preventing anyone from playing. We are Smith and we should be able to play as Smith.”
“For the IQA to turn around and tell us that we can’t play anymore simply because we do not have the population to be able to adhere to the gender rule, is ridiculous. But we are Smith quidditch and we’re not going to let this destroy us. We are fighters,” stated Martone.
The team will be allowed to finish their season because they have membership until July. While the season continues, however, the team will continue to rally against the new ruling.
“We are angry, hurt, flabbergasted. This is a sport that we all love. For many players, it’s the only sport they’ve felt comfortable enough to put their whole soul into. We love this sport more than anything, we love each other more than anything,” said Martone.