A motion to increase the Athletics and Recreation fee by $120 over three years passed almost unanimously at the AMS Annual General Meeting Monday. The fee will increase by $35 next year, with a $40 increase the year after and a $45 increase in 2012 before being indexed to inflation in 2013.
Director of Athletics and Recreation Leslie Dal Cin said unified support from both varsity athletes and intramural and casual recreation participants was the key to the motion’s success.
“When a thousand people come together and share a same interest and a same passion, they can be a very powerful community,” she said.
Dal Cin said the support shown by Queen’s students throughout the process, on plebiscite questions and surveys, was also crucial and will give the department more leverage with the University in future budget talks.
“That 90 per cent of our students think Athletics and Recreation is a valuable part of the Queen’s experience goes beyond just providing programs and services,” she said. “It allows us to talk to the academics, reaffirming that the out-of-classroom experience is an important part of Queen’s students’ lives.”
The increase is momentous for the department, Dal Cin said, adding that it would have had to slash varsity and intramural programming significantly without it due to budget cuts from the University.
“It was a great threat for us,” she said.
Dal Cin said she was thrilled to see such support for athletics from undergraduate students.
“We owe our student population a tremendous amount of thanks,” she said. “It’s very humbling, and at the same time very inspiring to know that they have a degree of faith in us that we can continue to deliver programs and services that they most value.” After the full $120 increase, Queen’s undergraduate athletics fee will come to $251.75 before accounting for inflation. That is the highest undergraduate athletics fee at any Ontario university, beating out the University of Toronto’s fee by $3.75. At a recent Ontario University Athletics meeting, though, 11 of the 18 member schools said they planned to apply for a fee increase in the 2009 or 2010 academic year.
Dal Cin said she’s optimistic SGPS students will accept a fee increase as well in their by-election on March 31 and April 1.
“We still hold out a great deal of hope with regards to the grad fee,” she said. “I think we have a great deal of optimism that the grad students will pass their fee as well.”
Dal Cin said the combination of increased fees would provide the department with a good degree of stability for the future.
“Those two pieces together allow us to start planning a future that people can be proud of.”