Athletic fee increase passes student referendum, set to go to Board of Regents

Athletic fee increase passes student referendum, set to go to Board of Regents

February 19
20:02 2018

This story was updated on Feb. 20.

UNT’s Student Government Association Election Board announced Monday night that a referendum to increase the university athletic fee had passed.

The vote passed with 55.24 percent of students supporting the increase. A total of 2,366 students voted.

The referendum results were supposed to be released Friday but were delayed after two students submitted formal complaints to the Student Government Association (SGA) Election Board.

SGA did not find any violations based on the complaints after holding separate hearings Monday night. The published decisions referenced Bylaws Article V: Rules on Elections and UNT Policy Chapter 4 as justification for the complaints being unfounded.

The measure proposed a $6.25-per-credit-hour increase in the Intercollegiate Athletics Fee and a $2.00-per-credit-hour decrease in the Student Service Fee. Students were able to vote from Feb. 13 to 15.

“The referendum is a reminder of the vital role student representation makes on our campus,” SGA President Barrett Cole said. “As with any election, it is crucial for students to vote and I hope that we continue to see the number of students who interact with SGA increase.”

The election results showed seven percent of the UNT student population voted in the referendum. Cole and  Graduate Student Council President Lynze Jones said they appreciate that students took initiative in learning about the referendum and then voting.

“It would be ideal to see a larger percent of the student population that expresses themselves through voting to better show us the kinds of issues that interest them,” Jones said. “That way, when referendums such as this one are taken to the Board of Regents, it shows just how supportive the students are of university-wide increases and changes.”

The proposed increase will go to the Board of Regents this month, school officials said.

“I felt like we had a lot of positive conversations and a lot of positive dialogue with students, and the understanding and the education was good, but you’re asking students to increase the cost so you never know how that is going to turn out,” athletic director Wren Baker said. “I was certainly really pleased and also humbled that it passed. I think that says a lot of the work our coaches and student-athletes have done and how that’s resonating with our campus community.”

The approximately $3.5 million annual increase in the athletic department’s budget will go toward general public relations, spirit, student organizations and the travel budget, according to the athletics website.

The referendum was put to a re-vote after a closed hearing on Jan. 16. It was postponed last semester after a student used SGA’s logo without authorization to pass out flyers encouraging students to vote no, which gave the impression that SGA was endorsing that decision.

“You just feel a new energy, a new commitment and, honestly, a new responsibility,” Baker said. “When you know that the majority of students voted to increase their fees because they believe in what you’re doing, you carry a greater sense of responsibility to make sure you keep that momentum going. We’ll work tirelessly, as will our coaches and student-athletes, to deliver our students a return on that investment.”

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Zaira Perez

Zaira Perez

Senior News Writer

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