The final vote was 777 against, 412 in support. While less than 1,200 of the school's 20,000 students cast ballots, voter turnout was three times higher than for typical campus elections. Student Senator Matthew Ortiz described the outcome like this:" I think the vote that came out today is a testament to the fact that students do not want their fees increased."
However, the vote was simply an advisory measure. The results will be considered by the Campus Fee Advisory Committee, which will then forward its recommendation on to University President John Welty.
The committee is made up of five students and four other campus representatives. Ortiz is on the committee and says he will honor the student vote. He says:" I will follow that will and I will vote against recommending it to the President."
But other student leaders have supported the fee increase, and some students believe the money would be well spent. Student Ryan Ghazaeri put it this way; "We thrive off athletics and that's the reason a lot of people come to Fresno State, and without athletics and being a D1 program we don't really have a Fresno State. That's how we're known nationwide."
The Campus Fee Advisory Committee is expected to consider the results of the student vote at their meeting next Monday, then take their own vote and forward a recommendation to Welty.
The University claims Fresno State Students pay substantially less in athletic fees than other schools in California or in the Western Athletic Conference. Opponents of the fee hike say Fresno State serves a population with a much higher poverty rate than the rest of the region.
Newly elected Student Senate member Jessica Sweeten advised the Committee to follow the wishes of the voters. She says: "I do think if the advisory committee goes against what students are saying we are going to have uproar on campus."