Archive for Saturday, March 1, 2003

Student fee hike survives

March 1, 2003


Nobody can accuse Jonathan Ng, the Kansas University student body president, of failing to stand up for his constituents.

Ng tried to convince the KU Athletic Corp. board at its regular meeting Friday to rescind the $25 hike it had narrowly approved in the student combo ticket fee at last month's meeting.

"I just think it's poor timing," Ng told fellow board members, referring to tuition hikes that will hit students next year.

The board disagreed, voting down Ng's motion to reconsider boosting the combo ticket price from $100 to $125. The vote was 8-4 with Ng being joined on the nay side by Mary Lee Hummert, interim vice chancellor for student affairs; Bill Tuttle, a professor of history; and Tom Mulinazzi, a professor of engineering.

Mike Maddox, an alumni board member from Lawrence, noted the student combo price hadn't been raised in four years and that "we've got to catch up. I still think it's a good value for the student body with seven home (football) games this fall instead of six."

Last month, the board had voted 7-6 to raise the combo ticket price, so Ng's support has eroded. In fact, student representative Jessica Bankston voted for the hike.

"I feel like I did everything I could possibly could," Ng said afterward. "It's unfortunate the board thinks otherwise, but I respect the decision."

If the combo fee had been scaled back to $110, as Ng suggested, it would cost the athletic department about $90,000 in revenue, according to Susan Wachter, the department's chief financial officer.

Wachter also noted that Thursday's announcement by the Kansas University Endowment Association that the economic downturn was forcing it to cut back on its disbursements to the university by 20 percent will affect the KUAC budget.

"I can't give you an impact," Wachter said. "I'm looking at it."

The bulk of contributions to the Williams Fund go to the Endowment Association, which returns them to the athletic department for use as grants-in-aid.

The KUAC board learned Friday that Williams Fund contributions currently stand at $2.96 million -- about $70,000 more than last year at the same time -- with an ultimate goal of $5 million.

Also at Friday's meeting ...

l Athletic director Al Bohl invited the board to tour the new Anderson Family Strength and Health Center. Bohl called the $8 million facility scheduled to open later this month "a wonderful structure."

l Mulinazzi, chair of the academic committee, reported that Lori Ebihara, a Big 12 Conference assistant commissioner, had visited the department. "She said that in progress toward a degree, we were the Cadillac of the Big 12," Mulinazzi said, "but she also said we are understaffed in the compliance area."

l Wachter reported that income from men's basketball was running about $100,000 ahead of budget projections, primarily because of ticket sales and concessions.

l The board voted almost unanimously to defer to the chancellor on whether to switch watchdog groups that monitor the use of sweat shops and child labor in the manufacture of athletic apparel. Tuttle was the lone dissenter.

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