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Senate to vote on Kyle Field referendum

Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 02:02

Student Senate seeks to bring student voters into the discussion about how the $75 million cost to renovate the east side of Kyle Field will be afforded.

The Kyle Field Renovation Fee Referendum will be voted on by Student Senate at its meeting Wednesday, which if passed would schedule a referendum to be held in conjunction with spring spring student body elections.

The A&M administration proposed acquiring funds to cover the cost to renovate the east side of Kyle Field from a combination of increases to the University Advancement Fee and increases to the prices of student tickets and sports passes.

The referendum holds that the UAF would increase $1.55 per semester hour ($23.25 for full time students) and the price of sports passes would increase $139.20, for a 40/60 split between increased mandatory fees and sports pass costs.

Speaker of Senate Senate Scott Bowen supported the idea of using the UAF to help fund Kyle Field renovations.

“The [UAF] built up massive reserves, upwards of $10 million in some cases, that the University wanted to dip into and use that money for other purposes,” Bowen said at the last Senate meeting. “So, my question is, why can’t Kyle Field be paid out of that?”

Opposition to dipping into already existing funds in the UAF was headed by Student Body President John Claybrook during the last Senate meeting — due to what Claybrook called the “impracticality of a good idea.”

“I’ve talked with those who are going to be the ones making the decision, and what it is going to come down to is the money coming from either an option fee, or an option referendum for a total increase in sports passes,” Claybrook said. “Those were the only two options we were given.”

Should the bill pass, the referendum results will be presented to University and system officials as record of student opinion.

A second bill regarding covering the cost to renovate Kyle Field will be voted on during Wednesday’s Senate meeting. The bill titled, Carefully Helping Each and Every Redass Aggie (CHEERS), requests that the sale of alcohol be allowed in Kyle Field to help augment payment for the student section of the stadium renovations. Co-author Cary Cheshire points to the high potential for economic advantage.

“The last major university that instituted this was West Virginia,” Cheshire said. “They have a stadium of about 62,000 and they were able to generate $520,000 in profit. That’s minus their expenses for increased control, training their faculty to check ID’s, paying for more police officers, etc.”

Other Business

The Assurance of Equality in Admissions Bill, which met some tension when introduced at the last Senate meeting, is to be discussed Wednesday. The bill requests that the University hold off asking applicants for personal information related to race, ethnicity, religion, gender and socio-economic status until after a student has enrolled.

Other bills expected to come up Wednesday include the Engineering Differential Tuition Study Abroad Bill, requesting that no engineering differential tuition money be used for study abroad programs; The Dixie Restoration Bill, requesting that the Aggie Band incorporate into their repertoire songs that encompass a southern culture; the Board of Regents Transparency Bill, requesting that BOR meetings become more transparent; and Outcome-Based State Funding Support Bill, requesting from the Texas Legislature that a portion of higher education funding go to outcome-based performance.

The meeting will take place in Koldus 144 at 7 p.m. and stream live at senate.tamu.edu.

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