UTSA students overwhelmingly vote against improving athletics, school's transportation

Students, UTSA alumni have mixed feelings about the voting results

By Adrian Garcia - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - Despite an effort by the University of Texas at San Antonio to improve the school’s transportation system and athletics program, a vast majority of students voted against the university’s proposed upgrades and growth. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday, students were given the opportunity to vote on a proposal to raise the athletics and transportation fees at UTSA for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. 

According to UTSA officials, the proposal would have raised the athletics fee by $1.00 in the 2018-19 school year, and then another $1.00 in 2019-20.

RELATED: UTSA researchers release report on 2015 Wimberley floods 

The current athletics fee is $20 per semester credit hour, with a cap at 12 hours, or $240, which, according to UTSA officials, is 27 percent lower than the Conference USA average.

“The proposed increase would have raised it to $21 (per) semester credit hour for the 2018-19 academic year and $22 (per) semester credit hour for the 2019-20 academic year while also removing the 12 credit-hour-cap,” a UTSA spokesperson said in a news release. 

According to UTSA officials and the athletics department, the rise in fees was set to enhance the student experience and continue to offer free admission for them at sporting events, provide support in recruiting student-athletes, maintain and upgrade athletic facilities, elevate athletics success to enhance UTSA brand recognition and much more. 

For the rise in transportation fee -- which has not been increased in nearly 10 years -- UTSA officials said the request was to add shuttle routes, decrease congestion on campus, reduce demand for parking and implement a shopping shuttle for students without transportation to grocery and retail stores. 

“The current transportation fee, which has not increased in nearly 10 years, is $20 (per) semester. The proposed increase was $29 (per) semester for the 2018-19 academic year and $38 (per) semester for the 2019-20 academic year,” a UTSA spokesperson said in the release.

TOP STORY ON KSAT.COM: State Fire Marshal releases final report on fire that killed firefighter Scott Deem

UTSA officials said more than 6,100 students, or 21.3 percent of the student body, voted on the fee proposals, marking the largest voter turnout in school history.

http://www.utsa.edu/sga/

 

And while the majority of the student body voted 76.7 percent against the athletic fees and 69.9 percent against the transportation fees, many on social media had mixed feelings about the results. 

“This vote is going to show how much the students care about the future of this school. Believe it or not but athletics promotes growth of the university as a whole. Don’t let selfish views on the matter stop UTSA from reaching new heights!” Brenndan Johnson, a safety with UTSA football, wrote on Twitter.

NEW ON KSAT.COM: No more margaritas? The world could soon be faced with a tequila shortage 

“Everyone is talking about how UTSA needs to grow, but we don't have enough room for the amount of people we have already. People spend an hour looking for parking, and last spring I had a class so big there were people sitting on the ground of the lecture hall,” another user wrote on Twitter.

Follow Adrian on Twitter | Like Adrian on Facebook

UTSA President Taylor Eigmy commended the number of students who voted on the school’s proposal.

“It is vitally important to have participation in this democratic process and use the results to better understand our students’ viewpoints and areas of concern,” Eighmy said in the release. “We will carry this knowledge forward as we work toward supporting our athletic programs and their role in helping to build UTSA’s reputation beyond San Antonio and Texas.”

To read more reaction from students and UTSA alumni following the voting results of the proposal, scroll below.

FOR SAN ANTONIO STORY IDEAS, EMAIL: agarcia@ksat.com

Copyright 2018 by KSAT - All rights reserved.