By: Joshua Ceballos/News Director
The Athletics Department is in need of money, and they are requesting a higher percentage of student fees to meet their needs.
This Thursday, April 18 at 1 p.m. in GC 230 will be the first meeting of the 2019 Athletic Fee Committee, comprised of four University administrators and four members of student government, including Student Government Council at the Modesto Maidique Campus Vice President Peter Hernandez and Student Government Council at the Biscayne Bay Campus President-elect Pamela Ho Fung.
Their goal: to decide whether or not Athletics should get a portion of the Activity and Service fee money that students pay every semester.
“The committee is to redistribute the Activities and Services fee. Athletics is seeking additional funding,” said Hernandez.
Right now, all students pay $14.85 per credit hour for Activities and Services. This money goes into funding the student government as well as all of the departments and organizations underneath them such as the Black Student Union, Homecoming Council and Student Media.
Students also pay an Athletic fee of $16.10 per credit hour. This money partially funds all of FIU’s sports teams, including football and basketball.
Hernandez said one plan is to take a percentage of A&S fees and move it toward the Athletics fee, so that the amount students pay for A&S would go down while Athletics went up by the same amount. The change would be “net neutral”, according to Hernandez, so students won’t see any change in the total amount of fees they pay.
The money that Athletics is asking for is derived from the approximately $500,000 in A&S that the Student Government Association currently allocates to career services, which includes the Career and Talent Development office. According to Hernandez, Athletics proposed that career services be paid for with Education and General funds provided by the State and that the money which would normally go to them can be given to Athletics.
The money SGA would save by taking career services out of the A&S fee budget could potentially go towards funding other organizations in Student Affairs rather than Athletics, according to Hernandez.
FIU students already pay the second highest Athletics fee in the State for Division I schools with football programs. FIU is only behind Florida Atlantic University, whose students pay $17.27 per credit hour according to an internal audit report made in 2017.
The committee will be holding town halls on Wednesday, April 24 at 9 a.m in WUC 155 at BBC, and the same day at 3 p.m in the GC ballrooms on MMC. Students are invited to ask questions of the committee and share their concerns about changing the fees.
Hernandez said that the committee will have to give its final recommendations on whether to change the fee distribution on Thursday, April 25, only one week after the formation and first meeting of the group.
“I felt like this was very fast,” said Hernandez.