Protestor Anthony Yrigollen said: "Students have been heard loud and clear. This is not the right time. We do not support the fee increase."
Armed with protest signs Fresno State students and faculty lined up to tell the Campus Fee Advisory Committee exactly what they think. Just weeks after students voted nearly 2 to 1 against a 70-dollar a semester hike in activity fees, many who turned out for this meeting saying they simply can't afford it. Most also angry that athletics would get the biggest share, 50 dollars, with academics getting the rest. Political Science Professor Michael Becker said: "The vote was overwhelmingly in opposition to this fee increase. You disregard that vote and you're essentially saying to the students, you disregard and disrespect their democratic will."
A small group of student athletes, though, argued the school and the community need the support. Student athlete Katey Sellers said: "We all need variety and a balance and to have a strong athletics program is a good part of this valley. Athletic Director Thomas Boeh told the crowd without the nearly two million dollars generated by the fee hike, Bulldog sports would lose its elite status.
Boeh said: "I ask you what institutions do you aspire to look like? And those are all Division One A institutions. The very best academic programs and the very best athletics at public institutions in this country."
After an hour long debate, the committee voted "not" to recommend the original fee $70 dollar hike. Student Committee member said: "I would think it would be devastating the day Fresno State moves to Division Three."
Instead, members voted to recommend two separate fee increases to President Welty. One of them a $32 dollar hike for athletics. The other, a $20 dollar fee increase to pay for academic progams like field trips and professional conferences.
While the student protestors felt betrayed, their student leaders said they had no choice. Student said: "This is not listening to the students' voice. This is not respecting students' decision." Student Government Executive Vice-President Stephen Trembley said: "32 dollars is needed for athletic department. It's just that simple. You've got two new women's sports, swimming and diving, as well as women's lacrosse. Legally the athletic department has to find that money."
President Welty now has the final say on both proposed fee increases. There's no word on when a decision will be made.