St. Cloud State students approve athletics fee

Wow, just after U of M president declares his commitment to athletics, I get this announcement from the St. Cloud State student government, which has been trying to raise money so it won’t have to cut sports such as football:

Record turnout approves athletic fee increase

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – A record number of St. Cloud State University students voted in Student Government Fall 2010 Elections that led to the overwhelming passage of a $1.74 increase to athletic fees. (Editor’s note: That’s $1.74 per credit)

Students approved two referendum questions that will increase student athletic fees for Fiscal Years 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The first referendum question for a $0.74 per credit increase passed by a 68 percent to 31 percent margin.

The second referendum question for an additional $1 per credit increase passed by a 58 percent to 41 percent margin. The first vote needed to pass in order for the second vote to pass as well. The increase is on up to 12 credits per semester.

Students who voted yes to both questions approved an additional $601,344 to the student athletic fee for a total of $1,361,644.

The vote was a huge boost for the University’s athletic department, which faces shortfalls of $550,000 in fiscal year 2012 and $600,000 in fiscal year 2013. Those shortfalls come as the University is cutting about $14 million from its fiscal year 2012 budget.

A total of 4,053 students, almost 20 percent of the student body, voted. A minimum of 8 percent of the student body needed to vote in this election to validate the referendum results.

“The student turnout was fantastic; it speaks to the increased student engagement on campus this year,” said Amanda Bardonner, Student Association president. “Our student body understands the issues and has a vested interest in the future of this University. Student Government hoped for a high student turnout since any increase would result in the increase of all students’ fees.”