Student Government

Students to vote on fee


UH Athletics Director Mack Rhoades spoke at the SGA meeting on Wednesday to tell the senators and students in attendance why the Athletics Department needs student fees to increase $45 per semester. | Paul Crespo/The Daily Cougar

The UH Student Government Association passed a bill calling for a fee increase to be sent to student referendum after it had a narrow one-vote majority following a speech promoting the hike given by Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades.

The $45 per semester increase would help to pay for a new football stadium and renovations to the facilities in Hofheinz Pavilion and would be in place for the next 25 years, Rhoades said.

Robertson Stadium, built in 1941, is in dire need of retirement, and crumbling concrete will make the stadium unsafe for use in 18 months, he said.

According to Rhoades, Hofheinz is structurally sound, but desperately needs to renovate its facilities in order to compete with the facilities of other schools in the Big East conference.

Engineering Senator Kennan Stuhr pointed out that the cost of the improvements could be covered if students were charged $25 for admission to football games, so the facilities would be paid for by the students who use them, but Rhoades said the money had to be guaranteed by student fees.

If the Athletics Department receives more than the projected $75 million in donations, it would work to decrease the student fee so students would not have to pay.

Current students, who would have pay the fee during the two years of construction, could be reimbursed through a discount on the price of season passes after they graduate, Rhoades said, although Stuhr pointed out that this does little good for students who aren’t interested in athletics and is really just “an opportunity to pay more money.”

“Our goal as a University is to have not just more students but better students,” Stuhr said. “And good students (don’t decide what school to attend) based on a Saturday afternoon commercial.”

Due to limited seating in the stadium, less than 15 percent of students paying the fee would be able to utilize the facilities the fees will pay for on any given day, Stuhr said.

The bill calls for a vote by the entire UH student body to decide whether or not the fee will be implemented.

“Give the students who elected us to these positions the opportunity to vote on an issue that affects (every student on campus)… If students really care, as we know they do, they will turn out (to voice their opinion),” College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Senator Lee Arnold said, speaking in favor of the bill, although some other senators questioned student ability to access and utilize the information necessary to make a decision.

“Our voter turnout is between 9 and 12 percent,” Business Senator Sebastian Geser said, which is not enough to accurately show the opinion of the student body.

By voting to pass the referendum, the senate would not merely be allowing the students to make the decision, they would be providing “shadow endorsement” to the fee increase, Stuhr said.

The proposed plan for the new stadium would allow for efficient expansion should it become necessary at a later date, but Rhoades said that students would not be asked to pay for additional expansion.

news@thedailycougar.com

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  • joshuaism

    Call me cynical, but there is no way for this thing to pass unless it happens this year. Once Keenum and Coach Sumlin are gone our football team will leave us students with nothing to look forward to for a good while.

    I saw Mack Rhoades slide show at the SGA meeting last night and I couldn't check it at the time because our internet was down, but his numbers for student athletic fees at other universities looked highly suspect.
    In fact I would review any changes in the document that have been made since the release of this previous version on Nov. 2 really carefully. http://www.uh.edu/sfac/fy13_requests/additional/A

  • Russell

    Are you serious Josh! Redally just make this up why don't you to push your agenda. There is nothing suspect about what he is asking and it is no different than many other universities. Like foootball or not there is nothing that has gotten this University batter marketing than what our football team did this past season. This , in turn, makes your degree mean more. Just about every building on campus has been paid for by students that never used the facility, that is how this works. I am very glad students were willing to pay for some of the great facilities on campus I am currently using and will gladly give back to the Uinversity and other students that will be following in my footsteps. Never know, my son or daughter could be one of them, juts like I followed my dad. If you want a great university, which we already have, and want it to continue this into the future then do not complain and just give back

  • Russell

    Are you serious Josh! Really just make this up why don't you to push your agenda. There is nothing suspect about what he is asking and it is no different from many other universities. Like football or not there is nothing that has gotten this University batter marketing than what our football team did this past season. This , in turn, makes your degree mean more. Just about every building on campus has been paid for by students that never used the facility, that is how this works. I am very glad students were willing to pay for some of the great facilities on campus I am currently using and will gladly give back to the University and other students that will be following in my footsteps. Never know, my son or daughter could be one of them, juts like I followed my dad. If you want a great university, which we already have, and want it to continue this into the future then do not complain and just give back ere!

  • Rick

    Why do we pay UC fees when it is filled with for-profit businesses paying rent?

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