Expansion financing in jeopardy

By Mary Chan

University students could face a $13 increase in their Dinos Athletics levy in the next two years. The increase, which sees the current $25 fee go up by $6.50 next year and another $6.50 the following year, was passed by the Dino Athletics Advisory Council on March 23, and will go to the Planning and Finance Committee meeting on April 12. If passed, it will continue to the Board of Governors on May 5.

According to Director of Dinos Athletics Don Wilson, the department needs more money because it is running a $700,000 shortfall that’s being made up by student athletes’ fundraising efforts.

"At this point in time, these obligations are taking over student athletes’ ability to perform for the university as athletes," he said. "Something has to break."

Last year a $14 increase was opposed by students in a plebiscite by a vote of 2,435 to 1,226. A vote was not held this year because the DAAC was set up to act as a consultation mechanism in its place. However, Students’ Union Vice-president Events Jared Lorenz, who sits on the athletics council, was unhappy with how the proposal went through.

"I don’t think the primary goal of that committee is consultation, which is too bad," he said. "The goal of it was to get a levy increase."

Lorenz also questions why the proposal is for a two-year increase.

"That’s what frustrates me, that we don’t have a chance to reevaluate this for next year," he said. "I don’t know why it’s necessary to make a two-year recommendation."

Students are reluctant to part with more money.

"I know we should be supporting our school, but I don’t want to pay more money," said first-year General Studies student Caroline Owens. "I wouldn’t want to pay more money for anything, not just Athletics."

Others agree Athletics needs more money.

"If it’s $6.50, that’s not too bad," said first-year Engineering student Rob Ilsley. "You’ve got to have school spirit, it’s good entertainment, we get into games for free."

Wilson stressed that no other source of revenue is available and students are the last resort.

"We don’t have the ability to go to government to ask for more money," he said. "The reality is that on behalf of students, we are asking students to support the program to the level it needs to be supported."

Lorenz also said that if students pay more money, they should also see more tangible results, something Wilson says will happen because a good athletics program will get more media coverage and exposure.

"When a student leaves here, whether or not they’ve been to one game, a potential employer will know the name of the university," he said. "That adds value to the BA you get from the U of C. Something needs to get the U of C’s name out there. I think that adds value to your degree."

Wilson added that more positive exposure could prompt a stronger alumni base, which means more donations to the university.

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