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Rec Sports changes could cut some fees

Mark Brahn, USG member; Yetty Emanuel, secretary of CSA; Bryan Ashton, Chair on CSA; D'Andra Mull, CSA council administrator; and Jeff Pelletier, CSA fiscal coordinator, met to discuss student activity fees and recreational sports fees in the Ohio Union on Jan. 31, 2011.

Ohio State’s Council on Student Affairs came to an agreement Tuesday with university officials that could lead to personnel changes on two different committees. Pending legislative approval, the members on the Undergraduate Recreational Sports Committee and the Ohio Union Council could be changed to reflect a student majority.

This is the first step in a long process that Undergraduate Student Government President Nick Messenger said he hopes will end in June with the Board of Trustees meeting and approval. The Board of Trustees will meet on June 21 and 22.

“Since (the resolution) was approved, it will go to University Senate Steering and then it will bounce to the University Rule, back to Steering and then it will go to a full-floor University Senate vote with faculty, students and staff,” Messenger said. “If it passes there, it will go to the Board of Trustees for a final vote, hopefully in June.”

Proposed changes to the Ohio Union Council include dropping the number of members from 33 to 23, which will include 12 students, two regular faculty members, one staff member, three Student Life staff members, one alumni member and four at-large members.

The proposal also looks for USG to select the Ohio Union Council’s undergraduate students in the future, some in consultation with the director of the Ohio Union, who is currently Tracy Stuck.

Another part of the CSA resolution was to change how members were appointed on the Undergraduate Recreational Sports Committee. The resolution looks to increase the number of students who sit on the committee and the method of being chosen to sit on the committee.

The Undergraduate Recreation Sports Committee would work to draft reviews and recommendations, including the Rec Sports budget. One new task of the committee is to:

“Review and make recommendations regarding the annual budget of the Department of Recreational Sports, approve other ancillary student recreational fees and make recommendations to the vice president of Student Life annually regarding the student recreational sports fee,” according to the resolution.

Messenger said the committee’s biggest responsibilities would be to make recommendations about the Rec Sports budget, review and make recommendations for extra fees and look at student fee increases and decreases.

Bryan Ashton, chair on CSA, said the Board of Trustees still has the ultimate approval to increase or decrease a fee, but he said he thinks student recommendation is important.

“(The committee) does not have power of approval of any increase of the Rec Sports fee,” Ashton said. “But they will have the power of recommendation.”

USG’s ultimate goal for the proposed changes to the committees is to reduce, if not obliterate, the additional fees OSU students pay for fitness classes and intramural classes.

“We’re kind of winding up talks with the university administrators and student life administration about reducing the intramural fee and getting rid of the fitness class fee,” Messenger said. “We’re finishing up discussions with them about it and I’m really confident we’re going to see that sooner rather than later.”

Messenger said these changes are so important because the Undergraduate Recreational Sports Committee would advocate to lower extra fees, if they were approved.

“So right now, you pay $50 per quarter for fitness classes and $100 per quarter for intramural teams, and the URSC will make that final recommendation to vote to approve or hopefully, not recommend those fees are extra,” Messenger said.

Don Stenta, director of Rec Sports, said he thinks the change of membership is great and he is glad to get more student voice in the committee.

“The committees are so involved with providing feedback and very important advice to employees of the university, like myself,” Stenta said. “Students who sit on these committees need to understand how much we value their voice and how important it is.”

Messenger said he is positive about the proposed changes, which will move to the University Steering Committee next.

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