Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) will lower the Cal Poly Recreation Center’s monthly cost for non-students Friday, but the move isn’t enough for some faculty who say they still can’t afford the cost.
More than one year after opening Cal Poly’s new recreation center, ASI will lower the monthly cost to $40.67 for faculty, staff and others who are eligible for memberships.
“It was all for consistency, and to provide more community members the opportunity to use the facility,” University Union Advisory Board Chair and sociology senior Haley Houle said. “The recreation center has amazing amenities to offer people, and lowering the price is going to make it possible for more people to use it.”
Membership to the new Cal Poly Recreation Center was previously offered at a discount when purchasing more than one month at a time — the cheapest option was 12 months for $40.67 per month, and the most expensive was $48 for one month of use. Now, the cost is the same regardless of the number of months purchased.
The change will not affect student pricing, Houle said, but it will decrease the price for members who have already purchased passes.
Faculty and staff objected to the facility’s cost almost immediately after its January 2012 opening, when monthly prices increased from $15 to $45. Student fees also increased $65 annually, or approximately $7 per month.
Houle said the price restructuring had nothing to do with Cal Poly employee access, but the president’s office issued a statement saying the $8 drop was part of President Jeffrey Armstrong’s plan to “provide additional wellness opportunities for faculty, staff and students.”
“President Armstrong listened to concerns of faculty and staff and then worked with ASI,” the president’s chief of staff Betsy Kinsley said in the statement. “ASI provided the leadership and innovative price structuring to support the wellness of our faculty and staff.”
Architectural engineering professor and local California Faculty Association (CFA) leader Graham Archer said union lawyers are still negotiating the Cal Poly Recreation Center cost with the California State University (CSU).
The union’s current agreement with the CSU allows faculty to use recreational facilities — provided it does not interfere with student use. It says the university can charge a “nominal fee” to cover CSU costs, but Archer said charging upwards of $40 each month is too much.
Houle said she was unaware of the CFA agreement, but that it might not encompass Cal Poly’s facility because ASI — not the university — operates the center.
Membership services coordinator Lindsey Lee did not respond to voicemails placed Tuesday requesting additional information, and the CSU did not provide information on the grievance as of press time.
Cal Poly employees’ animosity intensified when athletic director Don Oberhelman closed faculty and staff access to Mott Athletics Center, formerly Mott Gym, in September. Those who chose not to pay for the recreation center had been using locker rooms in the building to shower, which Oberhelman said created issues for student athletes using the facilities.