Oct 20, 2019
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Welty: Don’t raise IRA fee

Surely you’ve all seen the information about the proposed Instructionally Related Activity fee increase; it’s seemingly been everywhere.

The pamphlet provided by the school sits next to past Collegians (hopefully previously read Collegians) on the floors of classrooms and the ground in the Pit. Fresno State students were emailed about it.

Heck, there’s even an advertisement in this newspaper about it. (It’s on page 10 if you’re interested.)

Apparently, the school needs more money. According to the pamphlet, the IRA fee increase “is needed to support instructional support services and athletics.”

The IRA fee, as you might assume from that quote, is used to help pay for various academic and athletic activities.

The school says that the IRA fee increase would benefit a host of activities, ranging from maintaining library hours, funding for the Academic Testing Center and classroom redesign to shoring up the loss of revenue from ticket sales to sporting events and from our transition from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West.

Fresno State wants to increase the fee between $25-$70 per semester, with $10 per semester going to academic services and the rest going to athletics.

We’ve been down this road before.

In 2008, students voted down a proposed $70 fee increase for largely the same purposes; the administration raised the fee by $52 anyways.

Prior to the increase, the fee was only $10.

Currently we have the opportunity to vote on what we want the administration to do. Our choices are increasing the fee by $25, $55, $70 or shifting general fund support to the areas that would be helped, which, the administration ominously warns us, “could result in cuts to classes and other instructional support services for students.”

Let’s be honest: the survey is a farce. Fresno State is going to do what it needs to do to meet its financial obligations, regardless of what the results of the survey are.

And it’s true — Fresno State does need more money. It’s a consequence of the bad economy, laws already on the books and incompetency.

The bad economy and already-passed legislation, such as Title IX, we can do nothing about.

But the incompetency is unacceptable.

Fresno State readily admits that the fee increase is necessary partly to alleviate the costs incurred by our poorly executed move to the Mountain West Conference.

Discrimination lawsuits against the athletic department in the last decade have cost the school millions in legal losses.

Our still-unfinished aquatic center has cost about $6 million.

The recently “reassigned” (a euphemism for “fired”) Steve Cleveland will be one of the highest paid consultants in the country, receiving $250,000 to advise the athletic department.

This is what we will be paying for. Ambrose Bierce, the Webster of satire, defined the university in two ways: “Academe, n.: An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. Academy, n.: A modern school where football is taught.”

Those thinking they were paying for their education can think again. Nope, this fee increase is all about athletics.

The ultimate question we must ask ourselves is this: Why did we come to school here?

Was it to attend sporting events?

Or was it to get an education?

For me, it’s the latter.

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