The Student Government Association spent around 15 minutes discussing the proposed increased athletics fee during an extended meeting Wednesday, April 19.
With some senators absent, the final vote was 13-4 in favor of supporting Athletic Director Ryan Ivey’s proposition for the athletics department. Sen. Sara Alexander began the discussion by citing Thomas Murphy’s letter to The All State.
“He wrote that it is a service that most students neither enjoy nor value,” Alexander said. “Athletics have nothing to do with furthering educational objectives.”
The focus of the conversation then shifted to the success, or lack thereof, of the APSU football team as a reason to support or not support the increase. The fact that APSU holds the longest active losing streak in Division I football was brought up more than once.
“Just throwing more money at a program doesn’t mean more success,” Sen. Dominic Critchlow said.
Critchlow also pointed out the lack of student athletes among SGA members, implying that perhaps senators do not have the most neutral view of an athletics fee increase.
Sen. Jaden Davidson cited the negative feedback he received as a means to not support the initiative.
“I’ve talked to 50 or 60 students about this. Most of them aren’t in support of this,” Davidson said. “Our athletics department kind of has a negative image, just based off the students. As long as they have this image, I really can’t support this.”
Alexander also talked about her perception of student athletes during the discussion.
“I think we have amazing athletes here aside from the football team,” Alexander said. “I tutor football players and they are insufferable.”
Sen. Colin Crist and Chief Justice Lane Chisenhall said increasing the budget and money allotted will only benefit the campus community.
“I think a lot of us, like Senator [Erika] Adams said, we kind of have a disenfranchised relationship with student athletes,” Chisenhall said. He also said the amount of academic scholarships APSU gives has almost doubled over the past year.
Other senators, including Vice President Dylan Kellogg, attempted to steer the conversation away from the football team.
“The athletics department introduced a new identity a few years ago,” Kellogg said. “That new identity is going to attract new talent. It takes time for that talent to show results.”
Senators then voted to suspend normal rules to introduce all new legislation and then immediately vote on it. All new and old legislation was passed during the meeting.
Those pieces include supporting the Spirit Rock Committee to bring a spirit rock to APSU, changing SGA rules to only require one piece of legislation from each senator per year and a resolution voicing support for allowing students to use the Foy Recreation Center free of charge during the summer.
Res. No. 35 from Sen. Justis Hand requesting a username/password login for the PHAROS printing system was unanimously passed, as was Sen. Lillian Long’s resolution asking for more recycle bins in the Kimbrough building.
President Ryan Honea, in compliance with past legislation requiring a budget committee, introduced his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. Honea’s budget calls for $87,000 in total, which is $2,000 less than SGA’s income last year. Most of that budget is allotted to The Big Event, Mud Bowl and advertising.
Honea closed the meeting by announcing the 2016-17 senate had passed the highest amount of legislation in the history of SGA.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed having you guys as a senate. I think we have done a lot,” Honea said.
The final SGA meeting of the semester will be held Wednesday, April 26 at 5 p.m. in MUC 307.