Students will likely pay an extra $15 per semester next year to fund the athletics department after a close vote in which Sadie Conrad, vice president of Associated Students of CSU, cast the deciding vote.
The Student Fee Review Board voted 7-6 on Monday night to give the department the full increase it requested.
“I could see both sides,” said Sadie Conrad, ASCSU vice president, who cast her first tie-breaker vote. “I wasn’t expecting a vote that close.”
The ASCSU senate is expected to vote tonight on whether to approve the entire student-fee package. Athletics was just one campus department of more than a dozen that asked for funding increases.
In total, if the student-fee package recommended by the SFRB is approved in June by the CSU board of governors, student fees will increase to $1,085 per year, up from about $950 this year.
Athletics would represent about $167 of that.
The recommendations of the SFRB, which have to be approved by the ASCSU senate and the board of governors, have never been overturned.
But some members of the SFRB, including Conrad, said today’s senate vote could be contentious.
“When you’re talking about a decision that’s this split, and an increase this large, and an issue students care about this much,” said Mark Settle, SFRB member, “I think it’s within the right of the senate to overturn that decision.”
Settle voted against the athletics increase.
Athletics got a $17 increase per semester last year, and its expected to ask for more funding next year.
“I don’t want to see this become a yearly $15 increase,” said Ryan Biegen, SFRB member and junior math major.
Paul Kowalczyk, athletic director, has said the department needs more cash to stay competitive. It’s currently the lowest-funded program in the Mountain West Conference.
Conrad said she was undecided throughout the whole process about how she’d vote, but that she feels confident in her choice.
The program needed money to fund new positions, including for hiring a full-time fundraiser, and for salary increases for coaches, Conrad said.
Settle said he felt part of the reason athletics funding was approved was because SFRB members were giving leeway to Kowalczyk, who has been athletic director for under a year.
“I heard the phrase ‘benefit of the doubt’ so many times I wanted to throw up,” he quipped.
The Senate is expected to vote on the issue at tonight’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the senate chambers.
Conrad encouraged students with opinions on the issue to attend the meeting and voice their concerns.
“The whole ASCSU organization is really split on the fees issue,” she said.
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