A historic UTSA voter turnout of over 6,000 Roadrunners suggests a large number of the student body is against raising athletics and transportation fees. Amber Chin/The Paisano

The athletics and transportation fees at UTSA will not be raised for students next academic year.

More than 6,100 students, the largest voter-turnout in UTSA history, cast their ballots during the two day voting period. Both proposals to increase the fees were voted down.

“I am very appreciative that so many Roadrunners came out for the referendum vote,” UTSA President Taylor Eighmy said.

“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.

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.”

The athletics fee will remain $20 per semester credit hour, with a cap at 12 hours ($240), and the transportation fee will remain $20 per semester. UTSA athletics’ campaign of “Be the Why in Yes,” had little effect on the student body’s opinion, as 4,734 students voted against the athletics fee increase.

“I felt, as I believe many students did, that the athletics fee increase is not a priority at the moment,” sophomore cybersecurity major and SGA senator Michael Barbosa said.

UTSA alumni and students share their thoughts on the result of the fee increase vote over Twitter. Graphic by: Chase Otero

 

“Lots of students go into debt for their education, and this was a hard sell. I don’t think of this as the student saying ‘No’ to athletics, but a ‘Not right now’ to a fee increase.”

Some students felt the athletics campaign was not fairly run, with signs posted around campus emphasizing voting “Yes” for the increase.

“The historic voter turnout and overwhelmingly negative response to the proposed athletic fee increase, in spite of a well-funded, corrupt and highly uninformative marketing campaign run by the athletic department should serve as a reminder to the UTSA administration of what students’ real priorities are,” sophomore finance major and SGA secretary Montana Meeker said. “In future development of tuition and fee proposals, the administration should work harder to ensure they are focusing on what students want, and involving them in the process.”

Comments made by both SGA members are their own and not representative of SGA’s view.

Although the athletics department’s campaign did not succeed, Athletics Director Lisa Campos believes the students voted in their best collective interest.

“I am looking forward to exploring ways we can seek a deeper engagement with the student body and learn more about how we can best serve its needs,” Campos said in an email. “The mission of UTSA Athletics is to serve as a front door and a source of pride for the university. We are committed to providing opportunities for the entire Roadrunner family and the local community to connect with UTSA and to build the national reputation of our institution.”

The transportation fee has not increased in nearly a decade. The athletics fee was last increased in Fall 2013. The transportation fee still serves as the primary funding source for the Campus Service Transit. SGA’s GA 104 noted the current transportation budget deficit is no longer sustainable. Tuition and fee proposals are docketed to be reviewed every two years.

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