Guest Viewpoint: ASUO Senate & ACFC respond to athletics threat
This piece reflects the view of the author and not those of Emerald Media Group.
On Saturday, February 21st, the ASUO Senate will be allocating over $15 million of your student fee dollars to pay for programs, departments, contracted services, the EMU, and of course, football and basketball tickets from the Athletic Department.
Out of the $15 million ASUO budget, students spend $1,695,348 paying for the football and men’s basketball ticket lottery. This comes down to about $71 per year that students pay through their mandatory fees for the chance to go to our athletic events. We, the undersigned, think this is too high.
When we ran to represent the student body, we were determined to try and fight for more student football tickets and be good stewards of your money. We know personally how frustrating it is to sit and wait on GoDucks.com only to find out that we, once again, did not get a ticket.
However, when the ASUO began negotiating with the Athletics Department this year, we were surprised to find out that not only was there absolutely no chance they were going to give us more tickets, they were requesting $169,000 more from students than last year, for the same number of tickets. A 10% increase!
We were infuriated.
Now, they say that they will likely begin cutting student football tickets if we don’t give them at least a 3% increase (~$50,000). Their actions are greedy and deplorable. They’re acting like a business focused solely on profit, when they should be working towards supporting the academic side of this university. Why isn’t there an expectation on our campus that athletics give back to students? Students aren’t even guaranteed a ticket.
It’s time to get our priorities straight.
We can think of much better ways the ASUO could spend $50,000 rather than dumping it into the general Athletic Department budget, which numbers at nearly $100 million. $50,000 could go towards maintaining late night 79x bus routes. $50,000 could pay for increased SafeRide shuttles and Sexual Assault prevention programming on our campus. $50,000 could pay for much needed increases for student stipends, supporting those who work tirelessly to make the culture of our university one-of-a-kind. There are so many uses for this money, all of which are more impactful than giving it to Athletics for no new tickets.
After an article came out in the register Guard saying that the Athletic Director would fundraise millions in order to pay for his own salary increases ($700,000/year) and those of other Athletic department staff, we had had enough. We find it fundamentally unfair that the Athletic Department can find it within their hearts to fundraise for themselves, yet they resort to threatening to cut student tickets if the ASUO does not give them their requested increase. Is it actually that hard for them to raise $50,000 on top of the millions they already plan to raise? We don’t think so.
To put this further in context, Eric Roedl, the Athletic negotiator with the ASUO, made $170,000 in 2012, but now makes $212,074 according to the public records presented on UOMatters. A $42,000 increase in just two years! This, by itself, accounts for nearly all of the increase the Athletic Department is now demanding from the ASUO in order for them to not cut football tickets. Does anyone actually believe that the Athletics Department is working to reduce their financial burden on the already-struggling student body?
At some point, someone needs to stand up and shine a light on the enormous difference that exists between what the Athletic Department deems as “necessary” and what students deem as excessive. Many of us struggle to afford our education as it is. We should not stand for our own Athletic Department to treat us as another lucrative source of funds to line their own pockets with. It’s time for them to start giving back and support students of all financial backgrounds.
We don’t understand how the ASUO, in good conscience, could increase the Athletic Department’s budget $1 unless we guarantee that students get more football ticket. If more tickets is not an option, we should not agree to charge students more for the same amount of tickets.
Senate Seat 10: DFC
Senate Vice President
Senate Seat 6: EMU Board Chair
Senate Academic Chair
Senate Seat 20: Undeclared
Senate Seat 1: PFC Chair
Senate Seat 2: PFC Vice Chair
Senate Seat 3: PFC
Senate Seat 7: ACFC Chair
Senate Seat 9: DFC Chair
Senate Seat 11: Business & Economics
Senate Seat 12: Undeclared & Language Studies
Senate Seat 14: Pre-Business & Allied Arts
Senate Seat 16: Life Sciences
Senate Seat 17: Law & Social Sciences
Senate Seat 18: Math, Physics, & Architecture