The polls will open Feb. 22 and 23 for students to vote on a student fee increase. If passed, the fee increase will be an extra $10 per quarter, totalling $30 per year. The fees will go directly toward Instructionally Related Activities (IRA).
IRAs are activities that are at least partially sponsored by an academic discipline or instructional department. IRAs include but are not limited to: intercollegiate sports, KCPR, Mustang Daily, Orchesis Dance Company, performing arts and even forensics. The fees will not fund athletic programs or new buildings.
The Instructionally Related Activities Advisory Committee will assist the provost’s office (which is responsible for the program) and the president when allocating the funds. The committee makes sure the funds go to the correct IRAs according to how many people are involved and the actual IRA program.
“Over the last five years, the number of recognized IRA programs has increased from 45 to 62 programs,” stated in the IRA fee voter pamphlet objective statement.
Because of the increase, Academic Affairs allocated $100,000 and then $110,000 with the understanding that the IRAAC would pursue an increase in student fees to supplement future costs. Money allocated from student affairs will no longer be available.
Students in support of the fee increase believe the fees will support programs that not only enhance students’ education, but also the reputation of Cal Poly.
Students against the increase feel that the programs should be funded otherwise.
“IRA teams and clubs representing each college have been nationally recognized and applauded for their success and achievements in their field,” said Randy Carrera, an environmental horticultural science senior, in the “Pro Statement” provided in the IRA fee voter pamphlet.
“The excellence of these programs raises the overall respect for Cal Poly, and in essence, increases the value of each Cal Poly degree,” he said.
“Ten dollars may not seem like that much, and indeed it isn’t, but that $10 comes on top of the increases in fees voted on last November by the CSU Board of Trustees and increases in Cal Poly’s mandatory fees, which annually adjust for inflation,” said Matthew Sutter, a history senior. “Education’s cost is spiraling out-of-control, and the State is doing nothing to stop the problem.”
Cal Poly students have mixed feelings about the proposal for a fee increase.
“I don’t think they should be asking for more money from students,” said Mirena Astiazaran, a microbiology senior. “It’s not that I don’t support the programs. It’s the principle of asking each student each year for more money. (Cal Poly) is a public university.”
“I think it’s a worthwhile use of money. I definitely benefit, being a symphony member. I think (the fee increase) is a great thing. $10 is pretty small,” said Katie Gilfoy, architecture freshman and Cal Poly Symphony violinist.
“Even though $10 is very little, I probably wouldn’t vote “yes” for (the IRA Fee Increase). Any funding toward student activities is good but I don’t have time for (the activities) anyway. I’m so busy as it is,” said Jay Williams, a mechanical engineering junior.