Fee committee votes against activities fee increase

The Student Fee Advisory Committee has voted to recommend against a $64 increase of the Instructional Related Activities Fee during last Friday’s meeting.

The results were not revealed until Tuesday as Beth Lesen, vice president of student affairs and member of the committee, forwarded the recommendation to Long Beach State President Jane Close Conoley, who has the final say in the matter.

In an email, Conoley said that the result from the committee is very important to her and she is continuing to review information not only related to LBSU, but also comparing the athletic situation with other members of the Big West Conference.

President Conoley will be sending an email response to Lesen by Wednesday.

The fee committee met together with the athletics department to go over the data received from the Sustain Beach Athletics survey, presented by Interim Athletics Director Ted Kadowaki, as well as other financial information.

The survey was part of the alternative consultation process to see if it is justifiable to increase the activities fee by $64 starting fall 2023.

A Daily Forty-Niner reporter, Kadowaki and athletic representatives were asked to leave the room to allow the committee to discuss the information they had received and complete the voting process.

If this increase were to be approved, the athletic department would receive $4.8 million more in student fees. With adding funds from the Associated Students Inc. fee and Student Excellence Fee, athletics looks to get a total of $8.5 million in fees starting in fall 2023.

“The majority of that [IRA fee] will go to operate our 19 men’s and women’s teams,” Kadowaki said. “By operate, I mean team travel, equipment, officiating, apparel, nutrition, mental health services…”

If the fee is not increased, the athletic department could face cuts to not only scholarships, but also staffing, certain student services and potentially the elimination of sports teams.

“I don’t even want to think about it,” Kadowaki told committee members.

The survey, which opened on Jan. 19, asked students questions about the importance and value of athletics during their CSULB experience.

It was revealed that 4,341 individuals, comprised of students, school faculty and community members, filled out the survey during this time period. The survey software however allowed users to complete the survey multiple times.

Most individuals that answered statements from the survey agreed that athletics are important to the Long Beach State community. Not all statements and questions with their results were shown during the meeting.

Not all information was positive during the meeting either, as Kadowaki quoted more critical comments about athletics.

“‘Less funding for athletics, more on education,’” Kadowaki read out loud during the meeting. “‘Athletics does a terrible job communicating with the alumni, we need to refine and become a bigger part of the academic groups on campus.’”

Multiple student athletes showed their support for Kadowaki and the fee increase proposal.

Bryce Kvick, a fifth-year athlete for men’s golf and president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, spoke about how Long Beach State is able accomplish so much with the budget that they get compared to power five programs. However, he said that for athletes and the department to continue being successful, it must have a budget that can keep it at this level.

“I think if we allow it to continue to deteriorate, it’s going to deteriorate to the athletes that we’re able to persuade to come here and continue to compete,” Kvick said. “I want to make sure that we don’t have things cut or lost opportunities for people who come after me.”

Keeley Rasmussen, a junior women’s track athlete at LBSU, spoke about the importance of athletic services that Long Beach State has, such as mental health and nutrition, and how they need to be kept.

“To be having such a low budget here and having all these services, even if it’s really scarce, compared to a school that had all the money but they didn’t actually allocate it, it shows that our athletic department actually cares [about] us as student athletes,” Rasmussen said.

The Walter Pyramid and its repairs were also brought in discussion during the meeting.

Kadowaki said that the university is trying to hire an engineering consultant to look at the Pyramid’s roof, as it currently leaks when it rains hard. Based on past estimates received, Kadowaki said that they expect repairs to cost about $55 million.

While they have money in their budget for upkeep in their facilities, the $4.8 million they would get if the fee increases would not go to the pyramid.

“Hopefully somebody will come in and think outside the box and give us something more realistic,” Kadowaki said.

Comments are closed.

Daily 49er newsletter