Mandatory URC fee likely to be permanent

By Amye Ellsworth, Senior Reporter

The University Recreation Center comes complete with an ice skating rink, climbing wall and gym, but these services do not come without a cost. To fund the University Rec Center, students are charged a mandatory $65 fee per quarter and have been since the spring of 2008.

According to the ASEWU Finance Vice President Markus Hammond, “The university decided it would be easier to charge a fee rather than lump sums.”

However, many current students are unaware of the fee that is included in their tuition every year. The results of a 30 person survey showed that only 10 percent of students can identify the exact price they are being charged for the URC. Twenty percent of students were unaware they were being charged a fee at all.

Riverpoint students are experiencing frustration over the mandatory nature of the fee, Hammond said. “They’re paying a fee because they’re technically going to Eastern Washington University, yet they’re not really getting a gym.” Because driving into Cheney simply to use a gym is unrealistic, Hammond said ASEWU is working on acquiring access to an alternate gym for Riverpoint students to use.

Students who live in Cheney and do not use the URC will not be able to waive the fee.“Honestly we’re not really looking into that aspect too much.” Hammond said. “It’s more the access part. People in Cheney are on campus. They have access. It’s your personal preference whether to use it or not.”

Despite having access, many students are choosing not to use the URC facilities. According to the survey, 47 percent of students do not use the URC on a weekly basis. These students are being charged to maintain a facility that they do not use.

Hammond believes a fee for the URC will always be in effect. “The [recreation] center right now is probably one of the most used facilities on campus. I’m all for doing whatever we need to keep that building up to date,” he said.

The director of Student Financial Services, Dennis Wilson, said the bond for the URC was set to go through 2038. The URC began construction in 2006. “The students wanted it, so the board of trustees went ahead and approved it.” Wilson said. “If students wanted another vote, they would have to arrange for it through ASEWU.”

Hammond is hoping to set up another vote for students. “We’re looking into the future about having it put on the vote.” Hammond said. “If we can keep voter turnout to keep going up, we’ll get a more accurate portrayal of what students want.”