HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Both UH students and faculty stood in front of the Board of Regents Thursday and voiced strong opposition to a $50 student athletic fee. It's a fee administrators say is needed to help close the athletic departments $10 million dollar deficit.
"We fail to see how generating $2 million at the expense of students for a athletic department that benefits a minority, has anything to do with the success of most students at the university," Shana Clinton, UH Student.
Most attending the public hearing were against the any additional cost to students, but despite that, the board approved the per semester fee by a vote of 11-3. All students on the UH Manoa Campus will now pay $100 more a year to attend.
"Its a hard decision, its not one that I enjoy either when it comes to increasing fees. I think that its necessary . i think that there has been significant progress and process, " said UH Manoa Chancellor, Virginia Hinshaw.
"It makes it worse, especially since the a lot of programs are being cut, they cut education to try and help the athletic department, it's gong to send a mixed signal to students," said Andrew Anoitnuso, of the UH Student Activity Council.
The student fee will generate $2 million a year and will pay for athletic equipment and other needs like travel expenses. Athletic director Jim Donovan says the money is crucial to the departments success.
"We've been in a $2 million deficit for more than a decade, except for the year we went to the Sugar Bowl. This should help the program get in the black."
Once the fee takes effect, Manoa students won't have to pay to attend home games. The university says they can simply show their ID cards and get in the games for free.
"It's really good for the future generations, for UH students and student athletes alike. This will help fill up the stadiums and once they get a taste they will be hooked," said Jett Jasper, UH Student Activity Council President.
The current UH in-state undergraduate tuition is $7,584. The out-of-state undergraduate tuition is $21,024. The new student athletic fee will go into effect next spring.
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