Student fees for a U stadium: not yet

University students’ representatives must approve any stadium contribution.

If the University is going to build a new football stadium, current students will likely have to contribute to its construction. Assuming that requiring students to contribute is proper, decision-makers must respect certain concerns. At what point in fund raising should students be taxed, and who should determine the amount?

The assumption that requiring students to contribute is just at least merits some probing. The students do have an interest in a new football stadium. But all other contributors, except for the taxpayers, will determine the amount of their contributions voluntarily, and taxpayers at least elected their legislators. Similarly, the students’ representatives must approve of any contribution. As such, any contribution must go through the Minnesota Student Association’s student fees process.

Even if fees committee approval is required, the situation is still troubling. The University has not broken ground on a stadium, nor does there seem to be an approved final plan. With all this uncertainty, it is simply too early to consider a fees hike. Quite to the contrary, the student contribution should be the last piece of the stadium funding puzzle, because the University should raise as much funding as possible from other sources: alumni, corporate donors and the state. After such efforts a reasonable student contribution would be acceptable.

The opinions of both MSA President Eric Dyer and University officials seem to be in line with not considering a student contribution in the immediate future. There is, however, some hesitance in delaying student contribution because a sacrifice on the part of students might induce others to contribute or contribute more than they otherwise would. If the fund-raising efforts prove this to be true, then we should investigate using student support before others pledge their support.

In the end, students already shoulder seemingly unending tuition hikes and asking them to bear more cost increases should give decision-makers pause. The best ways to minimize undue hardship to students are to require MSA approval of any required contribution and to reject even considering such a levy now.