Student-focused? Try Athletics-focused

Three years ago, North Dakota State lost one of its best engineering professors because they couldn’t pay him a competitive salary.

Two years ago, my pre-med roommate’s lab stopped operating for two weeks because there wasn’t enough money in its budget to pay for needed additional supplies.

This year, the pharmacy program is petitioning to get a Bio-Chem class removed from its curriculum because the professor is on probation and no one can pass the class due to her unfair grading practices and obscure teaching methods.

Yet this coming year, NDSU athletics plans to begin giving full-scholarship athletes an additional $3,400 because student-athletes don’t have time to hold down a part-time job (another topic for another time).

Yet three years ago, with only 18 percent of the student body casting a ballot, student government passed through an aquatic center that won’t be large enough to support an NCAA swim team and will cost students an extra $113 per year.

During this same time, we as a student body are being asked to increase funding for athletics within a new student activity fee so that sports fans can have priority memberships once they are alums, club sports can work out in nicer facilities and our five-time national championship school can “be more competitive with comparable universities.”

While it must be understood that funding for professors’ salaries and science labs do not come out of student funds, the previous juxtapositions still show an important point.

NDSU has a bad habit of forcing the masses to pay for the interests of the few, and it needs to stop.

Let’s set up a little scenario here. Since we are also a land-grant, research facility, I have done a little research myself. I will estimate to the nearest hundred dollars to make this a bit easier to grasp.

NDSU’s enrollment was 14,500 students in Fall 2015. Of these, 12,000 were undergrads. Let’s focus on them.

Right now, the NDSU student section seats approximately 4,000 students. We can assume that these are the students who like going to sporting events and are avid Bison fans. Heck, let’s overestimate and say that number is 6,000 to include other sports that aren’t football.

In the event that all 12,000 students attending now are charged the additional $1.67 per credit (up to 12 credits), that is an additional $20.04 per person. Times that by 12,000? You’re looking at an additional $240,480 per semester, or $480,960 per year. Otherwise known as a very competitive professor’s salary in a world where our fees could be used to increase GPAs.

Back to the scenario: Let’s pretend all 12,000 students stay in the area after graduation. For the sake of the scenario, we’ll again overestimate and say half of these people plan to still go to Bison games (though it probably decreases). In the four years they paid this additional student activity fee, these fans paid the university $1,923,840 (on top of the current fee). Divide that by the 6,000 who we’re saying will go to games and use their “priority points” for their entries, and it comes out to $320 per person.

That’s if people don’t move away, and that won’t happen.

I’d rather have a $320 scholarship going to 2,500 deserving students, given every year, who are in majors that will benefit our society.

And I know, I know, a portion of this goes to club sports. About that: It blows my mind that we are expected to fund other people’s hobbies and interests. How angry would everyone be if that sort of money went toward Future Farmers of America or Gamer’s Guild?

Yet this university thinks it is okay to ask students who will leave here with an average of $30,000 in debt to tack on “just a bit” of extra money to pay for a few alum (who I presume will have full-time jobs and can pay for their own tickets) to get priority into games. It is absolutely sickening.

This is not a stance against being a Bison fan or against being an athlete. Those things are well and good (and even beneficial), but sitting in a position of power and of privilege is blinding athletics to the greater good of the student body, instead allowing them to push past agendas that don’t truly benefit everyone.

I have no problem paying the other portions of the proposed student activity fee for Student Health Services to give students access to quality health care without needing insurance, or for increasing technology that will enable us to compete in the real business world.

But I do have a problem with NDSU advertising to incoming freshman how student-focused it is and then charging students to sit in lectures with professors focused on research versus teaching, pay for Aquatic Centers they’ll never use and have priority points and fees they won’t see the benefits of unless they’re in club sports or an avid Bison fan.

It puts into perspective where NDSU’s priorities are, and from the looks of it, the university’s views aren’t truly with its students.

One Reply to “Student-focused? Try Athletics-focused”

  1. “I have no problem paying the other portions of the proposed student activity fee for Student Health Services”

    I do.
    Quit thinking your entitled to other people’s money. These people are no different from the corporations that demand taxpayer bailouts. You justify it by individuals only having to pay a small amount.
    Concentrated benefits and dispersed costs is arguably the biggest source of corruption.

Leave a Reply