Justin Fivella

The Instructionally Related Activities (IRA) committee is asking students to vote on a proposed $10 per quarter non-athletic increase in student fees.

IRA programs are activities that are at least partially sponsored by an academic discipline or instructional department and that are integral to its formal instructional offerings, according to the IRA press packet.

Cal Poly Rodeo, Rose Float and Mustang Daily are examples of the many IRA-supported programs.

IRA currently recognizes 62 student programs and represents 5,000 students. The fee to support these programs has not been raised in over 13 years.

Because of the lack of funding, ASI donated $110,000 last year and $100,000 the year before to IRA in order to fulfill program needs.

“People have a lot of needs that are not being met,” said Terry Spiller, the chair of the music department.

Currently students pay $13.25 per quarter in IRA fees, $6.27 is allocated for athletics and the remaining $6.98 is allotted to general IRA programs. The new fee would be $16.98 per quarter.

If the referendum does not pass, IRA funding will be reduced by 20 percent next year. Existing programs will lose funding and no new programs will be added for IRA funding.

If the proposal does pass, then IRA can give more funding to existing IRA activities, add more programs and rebuild reserves that were used up over the past few years.

“I think that the $10 increase will keep IRA healthy for a long time,” Spiller said.

Seventy-five percent of the student fees will go to existing IRA programs and the remaining 25 percent will be left for new programs and emergency funding. This year 10 to 15 percent of the funds will be used to build up reserves.

Despite IRA supporters’ efforts to inform the student community about the fee increase proposal, student interest has been low in comparison to last year’s ASI increased proposal.

A total of 10 students have attended the three open forums that were held about the fee increase.

“We aren’t surprised so few people showed up, it has been the trend in situations like these,” said Kimmi Akida of academic affairs.

Voting was chosen for winter quarter because current IRA programs are required to apply for funding several months before they receive funds during spring quarter.

The committee that allocates IRA funds was designed to be equally represented and thus is made up of IRAAC co-chair David Conn, ASI President Tylor Middlestat, three students nominated by Middlestat and three non-students, usually with previous IRA experience.

“I just want students to be aware and take the time to understand the details of the referendum and the programs that will be affected,” ASI President Tylor Middlestat said.

Voting locations include Fisher Science Foyer, Robert E. Kennedy Library, Erhart Agriculture Building (Ag Circle entrance in Building 10) and Campus Market Feb. 22 and 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students can also vote upstairs in the UU and in the Education Building Foyer from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

For more information on IRA visit http://www.academicprograms.calpoly.edu/IRA/.

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