As engaged alumni of ASCSU, we have been following the discussions related to student fee issues throughout the school year and are now compelled to share our thoughts. First, we would like to commend the student leadership for its advocacy on behalf of the students during the school year, particularly its advocacy of student interests to the state legislature. ASCSU has once again demonstrated its ability to represent its constituency to the highest levels of state government and affect legislative outcomes.
Second, we encourage the Student Fee Review Board and the ASCSU Senate to approve the “Commitment to Excellence” fee that was recently requested by the Athletic Department. The money collected through the Commitment to Excellence fee will be used to fund vital strategic initiatives within the Athletic Department. Funding of these initiatives is a critical component to building an athletic program that achieves excellence on the field and in the classroom. An athletic program that the student body can be proud of! Imagine a football team that is consistently challenging for a spot in the Bowl Championship Series, a basketball program that regularly competes for a spot in the Final Four, and a volleyball team that brings a National Championship to Fort Collins. These scenarios are not merely dreams. They are the expectations of our Athletic Director, Paul Kowalczyk, and the entire CSU Athletic Department.
If we expect – as we should – athletics to meet these expectations then we must provide them with the resources that they need to achieve excellence. The results that will most assuredly be derived from an increase in resources will include but not be limited to: increased name recognition for CSU throughout the country, more alumni involvement, increased revenue, more applications for admission and an overall swell in Ram Pride. The overall reputation of CSU and nation-wide name recognition depends a great deal on the success of the Athletic Department. Athletics is the window through which the public at large most often views CSU. Can we continue to accept mediocrity from our most visible department? The answer is NO! We must demand excellence and we must provide the resources to achieve excellence. For too long we have encouraged and accepted mediocrity from athletics by providing only the bare minimum in resources. The CSU athletic budget is the smallest in the Mountain West Conference (a mid-major conference). We ask you, is CSU a mid-major university? Do you want CSU’s reputation to be that of a mid-major?
If your answer to these questions is no then take the necessary steps to put CSU on a path to achieve excellence. Support the Commitment to Excellence fee. Athletics has worked hard to build a strong partnership with the students of CSU. They have provided one of the largest and best student sections in all of college football, increased student seating at basketball games, and continued to offer student tickets at no additional costs. Most Division I athletic departments seat students in the end zones at football games, charge additional fees to students for game tickets, and significantly limit the amount of student tickets. These facts are often overlooked.
Consider these facts, consider the student’s desires, and consider the outcomes that will result if the Commitment to Excellence fee is approved. Do students want to continue receiving athletic tickets at no additional cost? Do students want to continue to receive premium seating at Hughes Stadium? Do students want to field competitive and winning athletic teams? We believe that the answer to each of these questions is YES. Do the benefits of approving the Commitment to Excellence fee outweigh the costs? We believe the answer is YES. The Commitment to Excellence fee is an investment. An investment that will pay huge dividends in the near future in terms of building a major conference athletic program, maintaining the highest levels of student access to athletic events, and increasing the reputation of CSU nationally and globally.
We recognize the need for vigorous debate on issues related to fee requests. We hope that the SFRB and the ASCSU Senate will consider the Commitment to Excellence fee with an open mind but also a mind to the future. We hope that they will take a hard look at all of the potential costs and benefits and make a decision that represents the best interests of not just current students but also future students of CSU. Based on our analysis of the Commitment to Excellence fee request we believe that the benefits to both current and future students significantly outweigh the costs and thus we recommend that the SFRB and the Senate approve the request made by the athletic department.
ASCSU President, 2001-2002
Erik L. Glenn
ASCSU Vice President, 2001-2002
David F. Bower
ASCSU President, 2002-2003
ASCSU President 2003-2004