Why you should vote no to raising the student athletic fee

Why you should vote no to raising the student athletic fee

Why you should vote no to raising the student athletic fee
December 05
16:17 2017

Typically for elections, Americans are aware of the voting date (and what they are actually voting on) months in advance. When it comes to the resolution of the North Texas Athletics fee increase, students got an unassuming email to their inbox/clutter folder Monday evening announcing a referendum vote that was set to close just 48 hours later on Wednesday.

It is also worth mentioning this proposed fee increase took months of deliberation and yet, was still given a shorter amount of time than the usual talks with the Student Government Association and Graduate Student Council.

I don’t know about you, but two days and little to no notice for a resolution with a payout of $3.5 million from increased tuition fees, for a university with an attendance number of over 37,000 students, is completely unreasonable.

With such a short turnaround period, if you are not constantly staring at your inbox fervently awaiting messages, you could have potentially not seen the email and not even been aware of the referendum at all. Keep in mind this happened the week before finals when students are, you know, freaking out and completely absorbed in studying and schoolwork.

Aside from poor timing that edges on voter disenfranchisement, the fee increase has a number of cons. Only a very small portion of the student body votes in elections, which see the most voter turnout to begin with. Now, we are being presented with a referendum that will benefit only those who belong to the athletic department, a small percentage of our student body.

Don’t be fooled by financial sneakiness and inventive wording: we’re being sold this figure of $4.25 on purpose.

Four dollars per credit hour sounds a lot better and smaller than the reality of $51 per semester, $63.75 if you take 15 hours. The semester total is conveniently left out of the Mean Green Sports webpage that outlines the details of the fee increase.

And while we’re being realistic here, U.S. schools and universities aren’t exactly known for being fair and equal when deciding what groups need what amount of funding.

My high school theatre group never got enough funding and had to rehearse in the same shoddy mini-gym I had PE in during elementary school. I learned the art of stage acting in the same space I once rolled around on a butt scooter because the school decided the football team was more important, despite our One Act Play group being inordinately more successful.

This flashback came to me while reading the North Texas Daily article about the referendum and seeing the claim that some of the new fees would go toward the marching band and spirit squads.

Pardon me for being “that guy,” but I’ll believe that when I see it. This is Texas, we all know what division of athletics will receive most of the new funds. However, I would love to be proven wrong and see equal distribution of the money between all walks of the athletics department.

The proposal says the reallocation of fees won’t negatively impact availability of funds for other organizations. In fact, according to the Mean Green Sports website, other organizations will actually receive more money if approved. This sounds utopian, but don’t forget that we, the students, would be the ones paying for this.

Most of us are already giving UNT enough money to keep us in debt until we’re 40 years old. Maybe the university could try other methods of gathering funds. Can a federally regulated institution crowdfund?

How are students supposed to trust that these funds will actually be used in the ways they are expected to be used? Furthermore, if I’m being asked to give more money to something, I’d like a detailed list of very specific things my money is going towards instead of vague concepts of “facility improvements.” No one has been able to provide us with that information.

Can we be promised this money won’t be allocated to unnecessary flat screen TVs and massage chairs in the locker rooms? Is the ceiling of the weight room filled with asbestos? Are current stadium seats actually made of cardboard? Let me know.

I don’t follow sports, but even I know the Mean Green have had major success this year, very reminiscent of “The Mighty Ducks,” and I respect that. I completely admire the effort, discipline and sacrifice that goes into athletics and think that UNT sports teams and fans deserve the best. But I’m not willing to pay the equivalency of the cost of an intermediate edible arrangement every semester for it.

Wren Baker and others over in Mean Green Village have done an impressive job in revitalizing excitement in UNT athletics, but there are other ways to get this funding from donors or fundraising. Just like the majority of the rest of the organizations have to do here at UNT.

Surely there are better options that are more beneficial for everyone than possibly adding to the already ridiculously high dollar amount of getting an education on the backs of students.

At the end of the day, a university is a business. At the end of the day, it wants your money. And by 5 p.m. on Dec. 6, you can vote to keep that extra $64 per semester in your pocket. Might I suggest spending it on Mario Kart 8?

Or if you just, you know, what to keep your money, you can vote no here.

Featured Image: Apogee Stadium. File.

About Author

Rachel Herzer

Rachel Herzer

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5 Comments

  1. Joshdude182
    Joshdude182 December 05, 17:39

    Sounds like you want your university to be small-time. You want to move across the country and have people say “North Texas? Never heard of it.” You don’t realize that athletics truly are the front porch of the university. I can name so many schools across the country that I know nothing about, other than their name due to their football programs. I have positive associations with those that have well run football programs, like Boise State, UCF, or Ohio University. Then there are other that I view as second-rate commuter schools, like Kent State, Eastern Michigan, and Louisiana Monroe. I want UNT to be one of the schools that people know of and have a positive association with. And the greater point is that without football, I wouldn’t have even heard of a single one of the schools that I mentioned. Case in point.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Amarketinglist
    Amarketinglist December 05, 18:56

    It is my understanding that these funds are an actual shift from student service fees to an athletic fee in order to be more transparent…so not necessarily an increase. Decrease will happen in student service fees and shifting that to an athletic fee for transparency.

    Reply to this comment
  3. treefiddy
    treefiddy December 05, 21:39

    MarioKart? Really? Think of the children. Vote YES!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Jim
    Jim December 05, 21:50

    Instead of raising fees, sell the naming rights to the windmills…”TRUMP WINDMILL…IT REALLY BLOWS”

    Reply to this comment
  5. Michael
    Michael December 08, 08:47

    As stated in the email, it is a transfer from one fee to another, and is a net increase of over $4/semester hour. And I choose UNT in part because it is billed as an economical university to attend. I did not choose UNT because of the state of the art athletics facilities.

    Reply to this comment

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