Athletic fee to be raised 34 percent next fall

Tyler McNeil

Managing Editor

Student Senate members voted last month to bring the athletic fee to $67, a historic $17 increase, for the next the academic year.

“[The athletic department] kind of gave us set options which on one hand I appreciated, but on another hand I wanted to know ‘okay, how much money do you need?’,” said Student Senate treasurer Josiah Dillon.

The Nov. 23 decision will increase the athletic fee 34 percent next fall if approved by the Faculty Student Association. FSA director Ann Carrozza advocated with the athletic department to raise the fee at the November meeting. “This is the first time we’re over coming forward and asking for something of this magnitude,” said Carrozza.

With FSA approval, the decision will go into effect for the next two years bringing the fee to $67 for full-time students. The decision was opposed by five senators. “The tuition [bill] should be kept low and they could’ve sufficed with $12 or $15,” said freshman class president Emma Dillon, one of the senators who opposed the decision.

“We’re trying to get back to the less where we’re not necessarily operating off [of] less every year,” said Kristan Pelletier, director of intercollegiate athletics. Pelletier and Justin Hoyt, assistant director of athletics, asked for the fee to raise to combat budget cuts due to downward enrollment. This year, the athletic department budget was reduced six percent.

“It’s one thing have a nice new field, but if your team’s [equipment] is not on the same caliber, it looks funny to people coming to watch,” said Student Senate president Everett McNair. Last spring, the senate voted to contribute $85,000 of their class gift towards funding the athletic complex turf.

The athletic complex is expected to come with a new track and field team. Expenses for a new track and field program will cost the athletic department an estimated $15,000 to $20,000. “We really want to hit the ground running with the track and field program,” said Hoyt.

The athletic department also hopes to increase the fee in an effort to catch up with recruitment budget cuts over recent years. “If they put more money into recruiting, we could get better quality teams and we can rank nationally frequently and improve the quality of our athletics program,” said senior senator Chad Albright.

Albright mentioned raising the athletic fee to $20 after senior senator Erika Pelletier motioned to have a $15 student activity fee. His suggestion to add an amendment to her motion was denied by Erika.

“That’s huge for students. It might not sound like much, but $20 is huge for students,” said Erika. She opposed the final vote to raise the fee to $17.

Senior senator Chris Orzeszek suggested the $17 fee increase as a compromise between $15 and $20. “I think it’s very smart to invest in athletics and make our school more reputable through that because academically we are pretty well off, but definitely being overall more reputable is a good idea,” said Orzeszek.

Senior senator Kara VanGuilder voted against the $17 fee in favor of a higher one, believing the increase was not supportive enough towards the athletic department. “To increase [the fee] $20 isn’t that much when the average student blows money,” said VanGuilder.

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