Controversial Student Fee Hike Rejected

April 10, 2008 8:41:58 PM PDT
Fresno State students voted overwhelmingly to reject a controversial hike in student fees. One by one more than a thousand students cast their ballots, some waiting in long lines to make sure their vote counted.The reason was a controversial referendum that would tack on an extra 70 dollars to the 10 dollar fee that students now pay every semester for extras like field trips and art exhibits. Of that, 70 dollars, 50 dollars would go to the athletic department. Fresno State student Amanda Schotke said: "I don't think the University should make all students pay for athletics, athletes or people who want to be involved not all students." Others like Brandon Santiago voted yes, saying at least some of the money is going to education. Santiago said: "We need money in those areas. Our department, the journalism department, is really hurting in technology and things like that. We need that money. But some money is better than no money. I don't necessarily agree with the split, the 50 going toward athletics. But what am I going to do about that?"

The University is quick to point out that the timing of the fee increase has nothing to do with the legal judgments won by former Women's Basketball Coach Stacey Johnson Klein and the others. Dr. Paul Oliaro said: "All of this money particularly on the athletic side will go to support athletic teams, all 19 sports teams for next year. None of the money will go toward paying off lawsuits or legal verdicts." Athletic Director Thomas Boeh said the higher fees would bring in just under 2 million dollars a year. Money that would go toward adding two new women's sports, as well as the rising cost of running a Division One Program. Thomas Boeh said: "For many years, for decades, the fees, students fees here at Fresno State, have been 10 percent of what they are at other institutions. This is a realignment of fees to look more like our sister institutions so we can compete on a more level playing field financially." But even though students rejected the controversial referendum, this is not the end. A campus fee advisory committee, made up mostly of students, says it will now consider the vote as it makes its final recommendation to President John Welty. Dr. Welty will have the final say.


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