Welty Approves Fresno State Fee Increase

5/7/2008 Fresno, CA Fresno State students we spoke with feel betrayed. Josh Cranston, Sociology major says, "I think it's really messed up, I mean students voted on it, they said we don't want this, most of its going to athletics which most of us don't have anything to do with." Student Marco Lara of Fresno says" I think it's an outrage, I mean it's ridiculous the students say no, he goes against it and approves it."

University President John Welty points out school policy required the vote, just as an advisory measure, and he notes student leaders supported the increase. But some students say they're ready to protest, and Lara tells us they are getting advice on how to do it. "We have some friends that back in the day they did bigger things, sit-ins, and even take over administration buildings." Lara says students don't want trouble, but fairness.

This fee increase with 20 dollars going to academics and 32 dollars to athletics comes on top of expected system wide fee hikes. Adding to the troubles, student loans are in short supply these days. Financial Counselor Martha Lucey says, "It's more difficult for students to get loans right now there's been a contraction in the industry overall and so there's less money available for student loans."

But Welty says money for athletics is in short supply, and the fee increase, which will bring in about a million and a half dollars a year, is needed. "In order to sustain the number of sports we're offering and to make sure we're meeting our commitments to gender equity we're really in a position that additional revenue has to be added to the program."

But students are concerned about their own revenues. As Josh Cranston puts it," The economy is just going nowhere, and gas just keeps going up and up and up, food is getting more expensive, this is not the right time for this at all."

As for the impact on student finances, Welty points out half the students at FSU receive Pell grants, and those grants are going up by four hundred dollars next year.

Much of the money raised by the fee increase would go to start women's swimming, and lacrosse teams.

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