Scott Tibbs
Published in the Indiana Daily Student
May 20, 2004

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Say no to the "bailout fee"

To the Editor:

In response to Jerard Ruff's May 13 column, opposition to the $30 student athletics tax... I mean "fee"... is not an issue of being "of" IU versus being "at" IU. The Athletics Department (not unlike the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District) has put itself in a bind though mismanagement and seeks more revenue to bail itself out. Should students pay for the Athletics Department's mistakes?

I say no. Perhaps $30 is not a large sum of money, especially considering the overall cost of a college education. What is important here is the principle at stake. Do we set the precedent that a department in trouble can simply go to the Trustees for a "small" fee rather than behave in a more fiscally responsible manner?

The way this fee was passed (the day before graduation, when many students had already left town for the summer) was underhanded and cowardly. After backing down in the face of student protests, the Trustees waited to sneak the fee in when few students would be able to speak against it.

Need I remind you of the blockbuster story in the April 1 IDS (a story which also made the Indianapolis Star) which revealed that the Athletics Department had misreported its financial status? They claimed they were running a surplus, but were actually running a deficit. This raises serious questions about the Athletics Department and should have put the brakes on any potential athletics tax.

Raising objections to the Trustees' decision to tax the students to make up for the financial mismanagement of the Athletics Department does not indicate a lack of school spirit any more than disagreeing with the policies of the Bush Administration indicates a lack of patriotism. In reality, campaigning for a more fiscally sound Athletics Department budget should indicate a good deal of school spirit.