Shortly after Washburn’s Mock Trial team, the Trialin’ Bods, began celebrating their sweeping 8-0 win at their regional tournaments and discovered they would be heading to the Open Round Championships, they received news that their funding from the school was being cut from the university budget.
“It was disappointing to the coaches as well as the students, especially the timing of it,” said Danielle Hall, one of the mock trial coaches. “We had just went 8-0 at our regional tournament. As we were about to prep for the first round of nationals, and the students get this bomb placed on them. Unfortunately, while we have done our best to not let it be a distraction, many of the students, as well as the coaches, are worried about the future of the program.”
Hall also emphasized the support the team has received as they try to determine what the best plan of action for their future would be. They have received a great deal of support from alumni encouraging them to become a student-run organization, which would return the group to how it was run when Hall first began coaching the team, almost nine years ago.
If the Trialin’ Bods were to become a student-run organization, this would mean they would need to start creating their own forms of funding through fundraising and contributions from alumni.
One thing that may prevent the team from becoming a student-run organization is a letter from their governing body, the American Mock Trial Association, which would require the university that the team is competing for, to sign the letter. To get the letter signed, this would mean the group would need to find a department to function under and that would be willing to sign the letter to enable the Trialin’ Bods to continue to compete and succeed in the way they have been.
Two current members of the Trialin’ Bods, Chase Pumford and Nikki Rodriguez, voiced concern about the cut of funding from the group. Although this is their first year participating in mock trial at Washburn, they both expressed how much it has affected, helped and will continue to help them in their college experience, but more importantly with their future careers.
“We all want to see the team saved, because we all feel like it’s something that really prepares us well for what we want to do. All of us want to go to law school and be attorneys some day,” said Pumford, a junior psychology major.
Both students expressed their continued interest and dedication to the group. Rodrigez, a junior political science and Spanish double major, also voiced her support.
“We definitely know that we will continue to be a presence on campus next year, and hopefully we can persuade the administration that we are worthwhile,” Rodriguez said.
Despite this roadblock the team will still be heading to their championships later this week in Minnesota to attempt to defeat teams from across the nation and secure their title.