Wichita State University’s student government has voted to support a student fee increase to bring a new YMCA and wellness center to campus, adding momentum to the proposal that was previously rejected by student leaders.
A resolution before the Student Government Association on Wednesday night announced support for a $90 to $100 increase in student fees per semester to fund the wellness center and the costs of operating a YMCA on the Innovation Campus.
Student senators voted in favor of the resolution 23-16 after more than three hours of discussion and debate. Two senators abstained.
It’s an advisory resolution. The final decision for fee changes is up to the university’s president and the state’s Board of Regents.
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The 60,000-square-foot building would include workout facilities, a day care center and university wellness services such as a counseling and testing department.
“The project will help us add to a student’s experience at WSU,” said Maureen Dasey-Morales, WSU’s associate vice president for wellness services.
Supportive senators said the resolution would boost critical services on campus and attract prospective students to WSU.
“We are too focused on the YMCA aspect of it. … We’re focusing on recreation when this is about so much more,” said Alexander Vulgamore, a senator. “We have an opportunity here to now build a state-of-the-art facility that will contribute to the wellness and livelihood of students here and students of the future.”
We have an opportunity here to now to build a state-of-the-art facility that will contribute to the wellness and livelihood of students here and students of the future.
Alexander Vulgamore, Wichita State student senator
Senators who voted against the resolution said the proposal felt rushed and that a student fee increase would hurt international and low-income students.
“A YMCA would be good to have, but not at this cost,” Kyler Sanders said. “Not at the cost of turning away potential students who cannot afford these price increases.”
Any fee change, part of WSU’s annual budget, would need to be approved by university president John Bardo and, ultimately, by the Kansas Board of Regents.
Teri Hall, the university’s vice president of students affairs, said the timing of the vote meant the Kansas Board of Regents could consider proposed fee changes for next school year this June.
Between the new structure and additional fees tied to wellness and intercollegiate athletics, most students would see about a 3 percent increase in fees.
In March, the 59th session of WSU’s Student Government Association rejected a student fee increase of $7.75 per credit hour to help pay for the YMCA. The proposal was one of several issues that deeply divided the administration and former SGA leaders .
It’s now the 60th SGA session following student elections in April.
New student body president Paige Hungate supported the resolution, saying the existing recreation facility, the Heskett Center, would not experience job losses and that more student input was gathered over the past two months.
“It is a different proposal, and a lot of the big concerns were addressed,” Hungate said of Wednesday’s resolution.
It was the final SGA meeting of the WSU school year.