Reduction of athletic funding still on the table, senators say

Tom Barton

Despite some Government of the Student Body officials having promised not to reduce funding to the ISU Athletic Department, other senators said a reduction is still being considered.

Speaker of the Senate Tony Luken said he believes taking money away from the athletic department in response to the university’s decision to move student tailgating away from the stadium is unnecessary and GSB will not do so.

Luken said Friday a reduction in fees to the department might be necessary now, but believes it could be unnecessary in the future. He also said GSB has not committed itself to reducing fees.

“In the long term, I don’t think the senate will recommend a cut in fees to the department. But, we’re still in a waiting period and we could cut,” Luken said.

GSB has indefinitely postponed a vote on the resolution, which would reduce student fees from $21 per student per semester to $10, creating a $662,750 shortfall for the athletic department.

If the resolution were passed, a recommendation would be made to the Student Fees Committee, which then would pass on its recommendation to ISU President Gregory Geoffroy. Geoffroy would then send the recommendation to the Iowa Board of Regents, who has the final say on any change in fee allocations.

A senator could make a motion during any upcoming GSB meeting to take the vote off the table, but would need a majority vote to do so.

“The vote on the resolution could come Wednesday; it could come in a month. We just don’t know. It’s hard to judge right now because there still needs to be more talks,” said Off-Campus Senator Casey Harvey.

Harvey, who also sits on the Student Fees Committee, said the resolution deserves a vote.

“[The resolution is] something of large student opinion and not voting says students don’t care anymore, which isn’t true,” he said.

Drew Miller, off-campus senator, said he doesn’t agree with his colleagues about giving up on cutting a portion of the athletic department’s student fee revenue.

“[Giving up on cutting funding to the athletic department] sets a bad precedent of GSB rolling over to the university when conflict arises,” Miller said. “Students are not satisfied because the issue here is students being discriminated against by not being allowed to drink, while everyone else is allowed to.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Thomas Hill and Dean of Students Pete Englin have both said numerous times the university cannot allow alcohol consumption in a student-only lot, because the university cannot give an image of condoning dangerous and underage drinking behavior.

Hill has said the university is willing to create a student-only lot if it were alcohol-free.

Students are allowed to drink in the general public lots if they are of age and do so in moderation, he said.

At GSB’s meeting last Wednesday, several senators offered solutions to problems they had with alcohol being prohibited from a student-only lot.

Dan Christenson, graduate senator, offered the solution of having one lot designated as 21 and over for students who can legally drink, and another for those not of legal age.

GSB President Mike Banasiak said possible solutions to allowing alcohol consumption in spaces next to the stadium are being discussed with the university.

According to the Department of Public Safety and the Ames Police Department, alcohol arrests have remained steady during tailgating, but complaints about behavior have increased.

—Daily staff reports contributed to this article.