Students react negatively to proposed athletic fee increase

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

Dan Nadler, the vice president for student affairs, proposed a plan to increase student fees by a total of $6.30, which has not happened in about six years, making the mandatory fees about $116.79. The Student Senate tabled this plan for further consideration.

If passed, the fee increases will go into effect for the 2015-16 academic school year.

Nadler said tuition rates have also been proposed to increase by 2 percent for the following academic year. The average increase in tuition has been 1.3 percent throughout the past three school years.

Out of the $6.30 increase, the funds with be divvied out to various activities on campus such as: student legal assistance with $0.23, general student activity with $0.48, student publications with $0.33, academic technology with $1.67, concerts with $0.23, athletics with $5.36 and a $2 decrease for campus improvement.

If the Board of Trustees approves the resolution the increase will total $40.75. While some students are OK with the increase – noting the financial situation the institution if facing – others are upset about the increase for athletics.

Melanie Kaderabek, the vice chair of University Board, was one of the students upset with the $5.36 increase in student fees toward athletics.

“That’s wonderful that athletics might be able to do that—however, other boards are struggling just as much, so the fact that they’re getting an increase of $5.36 when UB is technically getting an increase of $0.12 is not fair,” Kaderabek said.

Under the broad umbrella of general student activity, four areas are covered, which include University Board, Student Government, The Recreational Center and the Apportionment Board. These areas will be getting $0.48, which will be split four ways making their actual increase about $0.12 each.

“We’ve had to make three budget cuts in the past two school years,” Kaderabek said.

Kaderabek said she was upset because of the low amount University Board is receiving compared to that of athletics. She was also curious if any students from the other areas were asked to see if they needed any financial assistance. She said because these fees aren’t updated often, she is confused about whether her organization will continue to get $0.48 to divide amongst the four areas, while athletics is given $5.36, which could potentially mean $1.1 million in yearly revenue.

If students are enrolled in the minimum required amount of 24 credit hours per year, they will be paying $128.64 per year for athletics. If Eastern maintains its enrollment of 8,900 students, athletics could see a potential yearly revenue increase of  $1.1 million.

“If they’re going to ask us to increase our fees by $6.30 they need to know what that’s going to and they need to know which other areas are being potentially hurt or helped,” Kaderabek said.

Tom Michael, the director of athletics, said it has been a long time since having an increase in student fees and as enrollment has gone down that has affected things negatively.

Michael said because they have been able to maintain their standard of 21 sporting options and 450 student-athletes, fees not being increased in six years explains why they have gotten this amount.

“We have continued to maintain the same number of sports, the same number of student athletics, but with less and less revenue each year and that has made it incredibly difficult to continue to support our student athletes in a variety of ways,” Michael said.

Michael said the athletics department is in a deficit of about $1 million and as expenses have somewhat increased the revenue from the athletic fee has decreased at an “alarming” rate while maintaining their standard, which is why they have that deficit. The money gained from the student fee increase will help fix that issue.

“We haven’t maintained the standard, but we’ve tried to maintain the number of opportunities for our student all of our student athletes in the sport programs,” Michael said, “It’s not like our student athletes are over here living lavishly.”

Despite the proposed increase, Eastern’s athletic fee will be $14, which is still the lowest in the state compared to the other public institutions. Illinois State University’s athletic fee is $19.42, while Southern Illinois University-Carbondale is $26.25.

JaLisa Smith, the president of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, said she didn’t see any improvements happening on campus and wanted to know where her money was going in terms of the student fees.

“Athletes suck. The athletics here aren’t good so why are they getting more money? Why can’t it go to Greek life?” she said.

She said if a bed isn’t filled in a Greek house they are fined $850 per empty bed.

“Why is our money going to them? The athletes thin something is owed to them,” Smith said.

Sabina Oroszova, a senior management major, who is a basketball player, said she supported the increase in their fees because of how much athletes do on campus.

Oroszova said she believes the athletics department does more than any other because of the traveling expenses and the games they put on, but she hopes the fees are used correctly like improving facilities.


Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]