Despite an effort by the University of Texas at San Antonio to improve the school’s transportation system and athletics program, a vast majority of students voted against the university’s proposed upgrades and growth.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, students were given the opportunity to vote on a proposal to raise the athletics and transportation fees at UTSA for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.
UTSA students reject Athletics and Transportation fees in referendum vote. https://t.co/bY40Z5IGQH #UTSA pic.twitter.com/fsm0B4UyoS— UTSA (@UTSA) February 8, 2018
According to UTSA officials , the proposal would have raised the athletics fee by $1.00 in the 2018-19 school year, and then another $1.00 in 2019-20.
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The current athletics fee is $20 per semester credit hour, with a cap at 12 hours, or $240, which, according to UTSA officials , is 27 percent lower than the Conference USA average.
Time to vote, 'Runners. Log on to RowdyLink today or tomorrow, to cast your vote on the Athletics and Transportation fees. Info: https://t.co/4tfWPQsiWr #UTSA #StudentLife pic.twitter.com/ubBHN7iHRc— UTSA (@UTSA) February 6, 2018
“The proposed increase would have raised it to $21 (per) semester credit hour for the 2018-19 academic year and $22 (per) semester credit hour for the 2019-20 academic year while also removing the 12 credit-hour-cap,” a UTSA spokesperson said in a news release.
According to UTSA officials and the athletics department , the rise in fees was set to enhance the student experience and continue to offer free admission for them at sporting events, provide support in recruiting student-athletes, maintain and upgrade athletic facilities, elevate athletics success to enhance UTSA brand recognition and much more.
For the rise in transportation fee -- which has not been increased in nearly 10 years -- UTSA officials said the request was to add shuttle routes, decrease congestion on campus, reduce demand for parking and implement a shopping shuttle for students without transportation to grocery and retail stores.
“The current transportation fee, which has not increased in nearly 10 years, is $20 (per) semester. The proposed increase was $29 (per) semester for the 2018-19 academic year and $38 (per) semester for the 2019-20 academic year,” a UTSA spokesperson said in the release.
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UTSA officials said more than 6,100 students, or 21.3 percent of the student body, voted on the fee proposals, marking the largest voter turnout in school history.
And while the majority of the student body voted 76.7 percent against the athletic fees and 69.9 percent against the transportation fees, many on social media had mixed feelings about the results.
“This vote is going to show how much the students care about the future of this school. Believe it or not but athletics promotes growth of the university as a whole. Don’t let selfish views on the matter stop UTSA from reaching new heights!” Brenndan Johnson, a safety with UTSA football, wrote on Twitter.
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“Everyone is talking about how UTSA needs to grow, but we don't have enough room for the amount of people we have already. People spend an hour looking for parking, and last spring I had a class so big there were people sitting on the ground of the lecture hall,” another user wrote on Twitter.
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UTSA President Taylor Eigmy commended the number of students who voted on the school’s proposal.
“It is vitally important to have participation in this democratic process and use the results to better understand our students’ viewpoints and areas of concern,” Eighmy said in the release. “We will carry this knowledge forward as we work toward supporting our athletic programs and their role in helping to build UTSA’s reputation beyond San Antonio and Texas.”
To read more reaction from students and UTSA alumni following the voting results of the proposal, scroll below.
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I wish UTSA would have done a better job explaining what the fees would be used for; they sent out an email, and one of the links took you to a PDF and explained in depth the proposed fee increases. However if you missed that email and just saw the VOTE screen... You had no clue! pic.twitter.com/r2YZA1m64D— Travis Filla (@Infamy_Intel) February 9, 2018
This vote is going to show how much the students care about the future of this school. Believe It or not but athletics promotes growth of the university as a whole. Don’t let selfish views on the matter stop UTSA from reaching new heights!— Brenn (@BrenndanJohnson) February 7, 2018
And the vote fails by a margin of over 50 percent. Student ambivalence towards athletics is one of the largest obstacles to growing the program for any university which hopes to elevate itself to the next level.— Orange Man (@OrangeManUTSA) February 8, 2018
I have been @ UTSA since 2010. I am an alumnus, donor, and loved it so much I came here over “bigger better” schools to work on my Graduate degree. This is one of the biggest disappointments I have experienced here, not only the results but knowing 79% of students didn’t vote. https://t.co/YUMDAn2NEP— John Paiz (@BulldogUTSA) February 8, 2018
A vote against extra funding for athletics means that when people step on campus, all they're going to see from the sports side is a brown rust box to play basketball/volleyball, a baseball field that most would assume belongs to a high school team, and a bunch of random fields. pic.twitter.com/huNCBr2hKE— Barstool UTSA (@BarstoolUTSA) February 9, 2018
Not only did the selfish majority vote against the overall improvement of my beautiful university, @UTSA , I'm sure the ones who complain about parking didn't realize they also voted against the improvement of that as well. #UTSA #UTSAAthletics #UTSAStudentVote pic.twitter.com/lE43EzfF21— Andrew Pirog (@andrew_pirog) February 8, 2018
UTSA is trying to increase athletic & transportation fees VOTE NO TOMORROW & WEDNESDAY on rowdy link!!!!! #utsa #utsa20 #utsa19 #utsa18 #utsa21— carmell (@Mellan0va) February 6, 2018
I dont even use the transportation or go to the athletics building and we still get charge— Blanca Love 🦋 (@Loveb_98) February 8, 2018
As an @UTSA alum who voted to bring on the football team back in 2007-2008, this is a step backwards and it is a damn shame.... If we ever want to be relevant on the national level we are going to have to increase the athletic budget to be able to keep up #saddayatutsa— TM_Jenike (@TroyJenike) February 8, 2018
I voted yes because the increase was nominal and it'll help in the long run the branding of the University, but I guess most students don't understand the benefits. Also curious how many voted.— Nata (@vigorianat) February 9, 2018
Maybe instead of asking for funding towards athletics you could ask for funding to repair parts of the school and actually give the professors a better wage?— jane (@xjonahlassiterx) February 9, 2018
This is a disgrace and REALLY sets our great university back. It is time to start charging students for admission into all athletic events— Savage Rowdy (@savagerowdy) February 8, 2018
As a UTSA alum, I’m terribly disappointed with the outcome of the vote. Take pride in your school and be apart of the growing movement. The increase was nominal. for those saying why pay because you don’t use transportation, please go to class and learn.— Michael G Martinez (@Mikeutsa2008) February 9, 2018
Everyone is talking about how UTSA needs to grow, but we don't have enough room for the amount of people we have already. People spend an hour looking for parking, and last spring I had a class so big there were people sitting on the ground of the lecture hall.— Today's Megan Sawyer (@MeganESawyer) February 9, 2018
The worst part of this, was that students werent properly informed. Most of the students were just basing their vote off of what other students were telling them. 👎🏻 pic.twitter.com/Naz1Ffm9Z4— Fermin Morales (@Ferminmoralesp) February 8, 2018
Out of curiosity, did anyone feel like part of reason transportation part failed was because it was bundled/advertised with athletics? Least that’s feel I got from campaigners.— Paul Perez (@AbsoulteZeroD) February 8, 2018
Lots of fuss about a small increase that would benefit everyone across the board. Lots of misinformed individuals.— PD McIntyre (@PDMcIntyre20) February 9, 2018
I paid those rising fees from 2005-2010 in hopes of growing this school to something great. The students not realizing the use of these funds and secondly not wanting to just pay them anyway for a better university experience is beyond me. Pretty embarrassing to be honest.— Brett Solis (@Brettsatx_12) February 9, 2018
As a business major, they are already talking about increasing our per credit hour by $42 and I’m taking 16 credit hours every semester, plus, with the athletic fee, there will no longer be a cap for those taking more than 12 credit hours.— Nia (@JhaniaCriss) February 9, 2018
Obviously a very poorly run campaign. If students were properly informed, they would understand the broader impact of athletics on their degree's value. They would've also been informed that #UTSA athletic fees are currently 27% BELOW the CUSA average. This was just plain stupid.— Technical Todd (@textodd) February 9, 2018
Well this is sort of disappointing. I'm transferring to UTSA in the fall and now it looks like it well be just like UT and charge the students more money if they want to attend the games.— Seline Trujillo (@selinetrujillo) February 9, 2018