KU students to vote on eliminating athletics fee

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas Student Senate will vote this week on whether to eliminate a fee students have paid to the athletics department for more than 30 years.

Students pay $25 each in the fall and spring and $10 in the summer, with the revenue going to support women’s and non-revenue sports. The fee raised $1.1 million for Kansas Athletics Inc. last year, The Lawrence Journal-World reported (http://bit.ly/1cIHWUK ).

The Student Senate will vote Wednesday as part of its regular review of all student fees. Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little has the authority to veto any recommendation to delete the fee and send it back to the student senate.

The fee was imposed in the late 1970s to help the university comply with Title IX, which requires universities to promote gender equity by supporting women’s sports. It raised about $1.1 million in 2013 for Kansas Athletics Inc., the operating arm of the athletics department.

An advisory board suggested in February eliminating or reducing the fee, citing the athletic department’s increasing revenues and budget. A Student Senate finance committee recommended last week that the fee be eliminated.

The vote could be complicated by a 2004 agreement signed by then-Athletics Director Lew Perkins and then-Student Body President Andrew Knopp, which gave the athletics department some student seating in Allen Fieldhouse in return for the department taking over bond payment on a student recreation center expansion. The agreement included a $20 minimum for the student athletic fee until the bonds mature, which will be in 2027.

“At this point, I don’t think we’re incorrect in allowing the process to take its full course without being bound by something that was signed a decade ago,” said Student Body President Marcus Tetwiler.

University administrators consider the agreement binding but “it is premature to hypothesize about what actions would be taken on a bill that hasn’t passed yet,” spokesman Jack Martin said.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

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