What is $6? The average university student would probably say a jug of beer at the Den on Thursday night. Inexpensive as that $6 is, it could decide whether or not many of the 500 University of Calgary varsity athletes play on the Dinos next year.
Due to proposed funding cuts from both the U of C administration and the Kinesiology faculty, Dinos Athletics has threatened the removal of as many as 14 varsity teams from the athletic program if the cuts are approved. To prevent this drastic change, Dinos Athletics has proposed a six dollar fee increase for full time students and a $22.75 increase for part time students to the Inter University Athletic fee with a $1.50 increase each year for three subsequent years for both groups.
To gauge student support for the issue, a plebiscite question has been added to the Students' Union General Election asking students whether or not they agree to the fee levy.
On Fri., Jan. 28, the Kinesiology Students' Society along with the help of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee held an awareness day to inform students of the issue. Pizza was sold for a dollar per slice, information sheets outlining the issue were given out and Kinesiology professor Dr. Monika Schloder spoke about the values of having sport as part of the U of C community.
"What is eleven dollars compared to [the benefits] sport can bring to an institution?" asked Schloder, citing such benefits as well rounded students, school spirit, community involvement, tradition and pride.
Beamer Comfort, a member of SAAC and the Dinos Wrestling Team, fully agrees with the benefits of supporting Dinos Athletics.
"Dino's athletics provides an image [of the university] to the rest of the country," said Comfort. "We help provide personality and atmosphere to the institution and help give the [U of C] a connection to the community."
Comfort hopes that U of C students will rally behind the athletic program and vote yes for the plebiscite.
"There has been a perfect storm of budget cuts coming together at the same time and were they all to go through, the only way to generate that income would be from student support," said Comfort. "What [the plebiscite] is asking students is, will you support [Dino's Athletics] if that happens?"
If the plebiscite is voted through, the General Planning and Finance Committee will review the issue of the fee levy and make a decision as to whether or not to implement the fee increase.