March 24, 2009
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State University students voted in record numbers during the past two days and approved Tuesday the proposed $65.00 per semester increase to support Aggie Athletics.
Steven Russell, the ASUSU Student Advocate Vice President, announced that voter turnout was 4,574 for the standalone referendum. In 2000, the USU student body voted for a new recreation center and only 1,400 students voted.
The referendum passed with 2,415 votes (53%) in favor and 2,159 (47%) against the proposed student athletic fee increase.
"We asked the student fee committee to move the initiative to a referendum so our student's voice could be heard," said Utah State Director of Athletics Scott Barnes. "With over 4,500 students voting (more than in the general election) their voice has certainly been heard.
"We are truly thankful that USU students value a successful Division 1A Athletic Program and we must continue to work hard to develop additional sources of self generated revenue, but now our coaches and student-athletes have a fighting chance."
"The newly overhauled Big Blue Scholarship Fund drive kick-off in April will be the next step in our plan to overhaul our budget and stabilize our programs, but there is still much work to be done," added Barnes.
Russell was thrilled with the high voter turnout and feels that students had the opportunity to be heard. Athletics is critical in creating an engaged student community and supportive alumni, and Tiffany Evans, director of student involvement and leadership center believes students recognized the importance of this vote.
This recommendation will now be forwarded to University President Stan Albrecht for final approval.
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