Athletics levy unjust and other sentiments

By David Bird

Editors, the Gauntlet,

Re: Dinos’ Athletic Advisory Council Decision to raise fees 50 per cent in two years     The Dinos’ Athletic Advisory Council has approved a recommendation to raise the Athletics fee $6.50 this year and a further $6.50 for the following year. I find the process and decision made by this committee to be undemocratic and completely out of touch with the student body and the university’s current financial situation. Last year, during the SU general election, Athletics asked for a $14 increase in a referendum, where it was soundly defeated, by about 2,400 to 1,200. With a freshly minted advisory council in place, the director of athletics, Don Wilson, asked this body to recommend to the Dean of Kinesiology an astonishing 25 per cent increase to athletics fees in one year and a further 25 per cent the following year.

The most fundamental academic goals of this university are under tremendous financial strain right now; we are at the lowest funding level since 1991 and tuition is at an all-time high, forcing many students to use the food bank just for survival. In this fiscal climate, it would be unethical for athletics to benefit in a 50 per cent increase to its budget in just two years. I am not opposed to an increase to the Dinos’ budget, but this is too much.

Don Wilson said he worked out these figures by first looking at the goals of the athletics for next year, and then calculating how much he would need to meet these goals. One of these goals is to relieve athletes of having to fundraise for their teams. Don’t the other competitive groups on campus have to fundraise? For example, the U of C model UN team (who paid for most of their own airfare), the engineers’ concrete toboggan team, and racing car team all had to fundraise for their endeavours. These groups represent the U of C and raise the prestige of our university just like the Dinos teams. Why shouldn’t the athletes look to fundraising too? Students are already putting in $910,000 to support athletics.

Lastly, students should know the make-up of this committee: it is comprised of 14 members, six of these members would stand to gain from a proposed increase (two coaches and four Dinos athletes) plus the chair, Don Wilson. With that kind of representation, how could the opinion of campus students, the ones who may have to shell out, expect to be fairly considered?

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