Aug 10, 2020

Increased IRA: Fee referendum on ASI ballot

Starting April 8, students will choose whether they want a $70 increase in student fees.

The increase will be part of the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) election ballot, in addition to choosing a new president for ASI and new representatives for a variety of student government positions.

While the increase is under one referendum on the ballot, called the Instructionally Related Activity (IRA) Fee, the money will go to two different locations.

First, $50 of the $70 will go toward athletics, ensuring free tickets to all events except football, and locking in the football ticket price at $15 until 2012. The money will also cover the rising costs of maintaining current athletic programs, as well as fund the two new women’s sports: lacrosse and swimming and diving.

“The additional money will enhance student welfare and safety,” said Paul Oliaro, Ph.D., Dean of Student Affairs.

The new sports were added to help Fresno State meet Title IX compliance. None of the money will be used to pay off the recent lawsuit judgments against the university.

Right now, students pay $7 toward athletics, as part of the $30 student body fee. Fresno State is unique among other California State Universities, in that 85 percent of the athletics budget comes from donations and ticket sales, said ASI President Juan Pablo Moncayo.

However, he said, “we’ve kind of hit a cap” and are having trouble raising the money.

The remaining $20 in the increase will go toward the IRA fund. This fund pays for field trips, club activities, conferences, art exhibits and a variety of other student-related activities on campus.

Currently students pay $10 a semester to the IRA, creating a fund of $400,000. However, due to the large amount of clubs and other student activities, the fund receives $2 million in requests each semester.

As far as having the two different programs combined into one increase, Josh McDonald, chief of staff for Moncayo, said that the reason that the two fees were combined was to allow athletics and the IRA committees to campaign together, instead of competing against each other.

Moncayo said that combining the fees puts students in an awkward place.

“You want to know what students actually think,” he said, adding that it’s hard to get a sense of that if the referendum covers two different things.

Oliaro, however, said the “whole proposal has merit.”

“The athletics program serves the entire campus,” he said.

ASI Elections
The ASI elections will span three days:

• Tuesday, April 8, from noon to 5 p.m.

• Wednesday, April 9 and Thursday, April 10, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Polling places are the University Student Union, the Joyal Administration Building, the Satellite Student Union and the South Gymnasium

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