Opposition builds to using fees for stadium

Officials said students should wait for the stadium cost-estimate study before deciding their opinions.

Branden Peterson

Student leaders have raised concerns about the possibility of student fees being used to help fund an on-campus

stadium.

This week, when the issue was brought before the Minnesota Student Association and Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, students in both groups opposed student money going toward an on-campus stadium.

Several University leaders hope students will wait for the stadium feasibility study’s release in December before deciding if they should help pay for a new stadium.

The report will provide cost estimates for construction, transportation changes, pollution cleanup and other stadium-related expenses.

Many questions students have about the project will be answered when the report is released, said Lynn Holleran, associate to the vice president and chief of staff.

With cost estimates, the University will have a better idea where – and if – finding money for the stadium is possible. It is the reason administrators have not been able to share more about the project, Holleran said.

“We would hope that people would wait to make any decision on it before we have that opportunity,” Holleran said. “Certainly, that is the plan.”

MSA President Eric Dyer agreed people need to be informed about the project’s potential before forming opinions on student

funding.

Dyer questioned how the public would respond to hearing students’ refusals to financially support the project.

But while regents, administrators, faculty and others wait for more information about the potential project, Board of Regents Chairman David Metzen said students will have a chance to talk to administrators about the topic.

“If there are going to be fees, rest assured that (University) President (Bob) Bruininks’ style of management is to have a lot of discussion with students,” Metzen said.

If the project proceeds, the University wants students to be involved, and campaign organizer Dave Mona said the goal will be fair and equitable student participation.

Mona said discussing on topics such as funding sources is built into the stadium development plans.

“I would hope that (students) wouldn’t rush to any judgment,” Mona said. “There’s so much time built into this.”

Council of Graduate Students President Chris Pappas said he hopes the University speaks with graduate and professional

students, not only undergraduates.

The University has done a poor job communicating with the graduate and professional students about the stadium, Pappas said.

“They haven’t talked with us enough,” Pappas said. “There’s got to be more dialogue.”

Some graduate and professional students do not think student fees are appropriate for the stadium, but Pappas said that message is not meant to jeopardize the project.

They want their voices heard because right now, he said, “we’re not being seen as an equal partner in the deal.”

The Board of Regents set the guiding principles for the stadium project earlier this month. The regents will discuss the feasibility study findings of Dec. 11.