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Rec Services suggests new fee for non-student club members

BY MICHAEL ARRIOLA | MARCH 05, 2010 7:30 AM

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Nonstudent members of University of Iowa sports clubs will probably pay more than just their dues next fall.

The Recreational Services is proposing a $100 fee for all nonstudent members involved in university sports clubs next semester, said Harry Ostrander, the director of Recreational Services.

“We thought it was appropriate for nonstudents to pay a fee to support Recreational Services because in many cases, they are using our facilities,” he said.

The proposal stems from an increase in student Recreational Service fees that help fund the new Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. Therefore, Ostrander said, it’s reasonable for anyone using the facilities to par up with rising costs.

The UI has around 40 sports clubs, and the majority uses UI facilities in some way, said Raymond Beemer, a Recreational Services program associate.

“Although there may be a couple clubs that don’t use our facilities per se, they still might have meetings here, and we still deal with their money in our building,” he said.

But some members of UI sports clubs disagree.

Anthony Leon, the Sportsman Club president, said he’s opposed to the potential fee, noting that his club uses a North Liberty shooting range and not UI property to practice.

“None of our members ever use any of the UI facilities, and this makes it difficult to rationalize them paying the fee,” Leon said.

Pat Kresch, the harbor master of the UI Sailing Club, said members of his club are upset about the proposal because they fear the fee will reduce their enrollment.

Close to half of its 100 members are not UI students, he said.

“I can see this fee pushing at least half of those public members away,” Kresch said. “We offer a pretty decent dues of $145 for nonstudents to be a member right now, but adding a $100 charge is going to hurt us tremendously.”

Recreational Services does not track the number of nonstudents in university clubs, but it doesn’t allow more than 49 percent of a group’s membership to be nonstudents.

Officials said they will take the concerns into consideration before making the decision final.

“There are some groups such as the Sportsman Club that do not use our facilities, and we will take this into account when completing our plan for this new policy,” Ostrander said.

Recreation Services would create an official roster listing of those who have paid the fee to verify club members’ status.

But nonstudent club members are still wary.

Warren Darling, the UI Sailing Club’s faculty adviser and nonstudent member, said it’s clear why Recreational Services wants to implement the charge, but he is still concerned.

“I understand that it makes sense to charge clubs that will be using the new facilities, but our club does not use much,” Darling said. The club does use the Beckwith Boathouse for a small rental charge.

Ostrander will make a decision on the fee within a month.


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