I am writing in response to your article “Athletic department facing economic cuts” published Wednesday. I was in attendance at the Student Fee Review Board (SFRB) meeting on April 3 in which you reported. Your report was not complete in the details of President Penley’s discussion with the SFRB regarding the fee increases requested by the Athletics Department.
The $2.06 per student per semester increase, which was requested by the athletics department in February, has not been approved, as was stated in the article. No dollar amounts for any requests will be voted on by the SFRB until April 17.
On April 3, President Penley appeared on behalf of athletics to request an additional $15 per student per semester, which, if passed, would bring the total student fee to $68.60 per student per semester or $137.20 per student per year. The Athletic Department’s $18 million per year budget apparently isn’t big enough.
Athletics reports that without additional funding they will be more than $1.8 million in debt by 2008 and $2.5 million by 2009. When questioned as to what exactly the new student fee money would go toward, Penley had no firm answer, only that it would be put into the athletics’ budget.
Penley said if the increase in student fees is not passed by the SFRB, he might take the needed money directly from the general fund, which essentially means it would be taken directly from academics. Why? What is going on in the athletic department that a huge, undefined deficit is threatening our academic programs? Athletics and Penley need to be forthcoming with the details of how your money will be used.
Your article on this issue is clearly biased and sympathetic to the athletic department, which is understandable considering the individual who reported on this is a Collegian sports reporter. If any students have concerns about their student fees, I encourage them to contact the athletics department, SFRB and President Penley to voice their opinions before the SFRB’s final voting is complete.
Performing arts major