Where does my incidental fee go?
It’s 6:50 p.m. on a Saturday, and UO senior Junbo Zhao stayed at home instead of participating in his friends’ Mahjong game. His laptop is on, internet is working and his browser pulls up Goducks.com. Zhao’s hunting for a football ticket for the upcoming game.
“It’s a tactic,” Zhao said. “You’ve got to do the right thing at the right moment, then you maybe you’ll get a chance.”
Zhao said he wasn’t too fond of football, but once he learned how much students pay for the tickets, he wanted to utilize it.
Through a recently finalized agreement between ASUO’s Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee and the athletic department, the student body will pay $1.7 million in the incidental fee to pay for all varsity sporting events, including 5,148 football tickets each game.
The incidental fee is a built-in dollar amount that all students are required to pay with their tuition. The student government, including Executive branch, Senate and four Finance Committees then decide how the money is spent. This year, each student pays $223.75 per term. That’s a 4 percent increase compared to 2014-15.
ASUO Finance Director Shawn Stevenson said the increase was due to general operation costs, programming and expenses. But the money mainly supports students on campus, focusing on students’ activism and safety.
But where exactly does $16 million go?
The most expensive item on the list is the agreement with the athletic department which holds more than 10 percent of the budget. For next year’s negotiation, Stevenson said ACFC is looking at “creative solutions” to resolve conflicts, such as multi year deals, and allowing students to buy tickets at a negotiated price instead of forcing all students to pay for athletic tickets. The ultimate goal is to reconstruct the whole agreement and decrease athletic funding.
“That [agreement] just doesn’t work anymore,” Stevenson said. “There is some discussion that needs to be done after the season.”
Another big chunk of ASUO Budget goes to the Lane Transit District contract at nearly $1.5 million. LTD provides bus service to all students in the Eugene-Springfield area, including the 79x route designed for students living near Autzen Stadium.
“[LTD] comes back every year asking for an increase — they act very similar to the athletic department,” Stevenson said.
Route 79x runs Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. No 79x bus is available on Sunday. UO student Nicole Hu doesn’t think it’s enough.
“[Autzen Stadium] is quite far from campus. So if you don’t have a car, it’s very troublesome,” she said. “The buses sometimes are very late.”
Stevenson said students and senators have expressed the desire to see more hours for the 79x bus, but ASUO does not have any specific plans yet.
“We’re taking it in consideration,” Stevenson said.
$6.4 million goes to the EMU Board, maintaining services, operations and events in the heart of campus.
$1 million goes to reserves and assessments.
The $3.6 million of the remaining incidental fee budget is divided between student programs and departments on campus, such as the International Student Association, LGBTQA, Craft Center, Designated Driver Shuttle and Safe Ride, Legal Services and Sexual Assault Support Services.
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