Photo Illustration by Michael Uribes / The Collegian
One year ago, Fresno State students voted on a fee referendum that would significantly hike Instructionally Related Activity (IRA) fees. Students answered with 65 percent rejecting the proposal.
But their wishes were denied when the Campus Fee Advisory Committee came together and recommended an amended increase anyway. University President John D. Welty approved a $52 IRA fee increase, making the total fee $62 for 2008-09.
Welty told The Collegian in May 2008 that the increase was necessary because several programs would be in serious jeopardy if they didnâ€™t get additional revenue. He named music and theatre arts, specifically, as two of the programs in need. Also, the new womenâ€™s lacrosse team and swimming and diving team needed student fee support, so the university could comply with federal gender equity rules.
Dean of Student Affairs Paul Oliaro, Ph.D. was also interviewed in the May 2008 article and said that the fee hike was necessary. â€œWe tried to do what was in the best interest of the whole university,â€ Oliaro said.
One year later, The Collegian has now gathered and analyzed the last three years of IRA allocations. The Collegian elected to only examine allocations on the academic and extracurricular side, which takes about half of a studentâ€™s IRA fee.
In tough economic times like the present, students should know where their money is going and why. Who is handling these funds? Who is reaping the benefits and who is not?
President Welty and the sitting ASI president hand-pick the IRA Advisory Board that make the tough allocation decisions. This board is made up of three Fresno State students and three faculty/administrators.
In a special report today and Friday, The Collegian scrutinizes the last three years of IRA allocations, conducts interviews and breaks down the disbursement of $1.2 million in IRA money.