On April 3, the college that I love insulted me. I attended Fort Lewis College for five years in the late 1990s and, until two days ago, had embraced it as my home. My love for the Fort began when I was an 18-year-old kid who had no idea what to do with her life. I was accepted at six different colleges and universities and chose Fort Lewis because of the small, family-like environment the college sold itself as. I tried many different paths while at Fort Lewis, until I found my way, and I found that way with the help of Chris Aaland.
Chris was my boss in the sports information department, and, under his tutelage, I was able to find my direction into sports journalism and public relations. Chris took me under his wing, and I went from a green sports reporter to editor-in-chief of The Independent and then on to a career in sports television. Chris encompassed everything that FLC sold itself as, and I truly believe I would not be the person I am today without his guidance, dedication and selflessness.
When I heard that FLC fired him, I was beside myself. He was what Fort Lewis had promised me back when I was a potential student, and he proved better than the Fort in the end. Since I’ve graduated, I have held this institution in the highest regard.
When they fired its greatest supporter, its champion for the last 20 years, a man who supported and loved thousands of students, FLC lost my trust and admiration. Shame on President Dene Thomas and Athletic Director Gary Hunter. How dare they deny thousands of potential FLC students the guidance of such a man – my teacher? The tactics displayed that day have tarnished the image of Fort Lewis College, and I ask the community to band together and ask for the resignations of Thomas and Hunter to restore some semblance of honor and respect that we should all expect from this college.