UH student leaders oppose athletics fee

July 14, 2010, 5:35 AM HST · Updated July 14, 6:40 AM
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By Fred Guzman

Despite strong opposition by student government leaders, University of Howaii-Manoa Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw will seek approval Thursday from the Board of Regents  to implement a $50 per semester fee that would generate $2 million annually for the university’s cash-strapped athletic department.

Those same student leaders are vowing a presence at the Regents meeting, scheduled for a 9 a.m. start at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Don’t expect an overwhelming number of picket-toting students to be in attendance. For one thing, school is in summer session. For another, you would think students who are really hurting financially will find it difficult to get time off from their summer jobs.

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T h e bottom line  is that the athletic department has run at a deficit for seven of the previous eight years and is projecting a  $2 million shortfall for the fiscal year that ended June 30. If those numbers are accurate, that would increase the department’s total deficit to $10.1 million .

All eight other members of the WAC already have such a fee in place — ranging from $10 per semester at LaTech to $123 at Utah State.

The proposed $50 fee, if approved, will begin with the spring 2011 semester and, according to Hinshaw, will go to help underwrite “scholarships, travel and subsistence, materials and supplies, and other expenses directly beneficial to student-athletes.”

I don’t find the fee unreasonable. But, of course, it isn’t coming out of my pocket, either.

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