Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Controversial athletics fee increase fails by vote of 70.66%

Chloe Williams

On Sept. 21, UTSA athletics announced a voting session on a proposed incremental student athletics fee increase to upgrade the university’s various sports programs and subsequently improve its reputation state-wide and nationally. The “Everyone Wins” vote opened the morning of Oct. 25 and closed at midnight on Oct. 26. By the morning of Oct. 27, the results were clear: of the almost 5,900 students who voted, 29.33% voted yes and 70.66% voted no. 

Each year, the Spirit of the Roadrunner program awards two students who best “embody the spirit of UTSA.” On the same ballot for the athletics fee, students were asked to select two of this year’s nominees for the following school year. The winners, Alondra Castillo and Melyna Perez, were announced at the halftime show of the Oct. 28 football game against East Carolina, making UTSA history as the first duo female winners since the title was renamed from Mr. and Ms. UTSA

The outcome of the athletics fee vote follows weeks of controversy and irritation with the athletics department, as students complain of slow Wi-Fi, aging infrastructure, poor resources and other campus issues as matters of more urgent financial need than UTSA athletics. In addition, many students were concerned about the effect of the increase on their tuition. Over 43% of UTSA undergraduates receive federal Pell Grants, and over 70% receive need-based grants and scholarships.  

On the Everyone Wins website, UTSA’s Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Lisa Campos, answered student questions about the fee through a question form titled “Ask Lisa” in an effort to promote awareness of the long-term benefits and pass the fee. After the release of the voting results, Campos says “it doesn’t change” the ambitions of athletic programs. 

“We’re gonna continue to find every revenue-generating opportunity, whether that’s increased ticket sales, through our marketing and sponsorship, through our media rights [or] through donations. That part of our efforts isn’t gonna change; we’re gonna continue to grow our budget to be able to provide a great experience for our students and student athletes,” Campos continued. 

In relation to the other issues on campus and the financial concerns of students, Campos stated, “There’s no reason students should really understand the finances and budgeting of a university. We’re really able to help them understand that athletics [doesn’t] receive state-appropriated dollars, nor do we receive tuition. Those are the dollars that go toward the things we heard about, whether it’s a broken lightbulb or a broken chair, or an academic unit.” 

Campos noted how athletics are an “auxiliary” to main university functions and build their budget through more traditional means, like student fees. She empathized with the cost of being a student, recalling how she had to work two jobs as a first-generation student to support herself when she was pursuing her degree. 

In a Paisano Poll preceding the voting, UTSA student Mikey Green brought up how “a lot of [students] aren’t here for the athletics.” Campos is aware of this sentiment of disconnect between UTSA athletics and the rest of the student body and hopes to have UTSA athletics be more representative of the university.

“We’re gonna continue to partner with different student organizations. We want to provide visibility to all 35,000-plus students on this campus,” Campos said. “We want to be an integral part of the undergraduate experience. We know that when you’re coming to athletic events and you’re engaged in other organizations, you’re most likely going to graduate and be an active alum.”

UTSA athletics is interested in continuing to collaborate with student groups and highlight events on campus in an effort to strengthen that relationship. To read more about the voting results, visit UTSA Today.

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About the Contributors
Faith Kouadio, Staff Writer

Faith (she/her) is a public health major with a minor in information systems. Despite choosing to pursue studies in these specific fields, she enjoys writing and communications and hopes to incorporate them as a key part of her career. She believes in an increasingly information-heavy world, everyone has a duty to responsibly disseminate information – contributing to the Paisano is her small way of accomplishing this.

If you ask Faith what movie she saw last night, she will have a new answer every time. Other than watching movies, she enjoys listening to and collecting music and traveling. Having grown up in the Toronto region, Texas is one stop from the many places she has called home. After her anticipated graduation in Spring 2024, she’s excited to see where life takes her next.

Chloe Williams, Managing Editor
Chloe (she/her) is a senior majoring in Business Marketing with a minor in Adaptive Decision Business Models. On her off days you can find Chloe thrifting, being a self-proclaimed food critic or outside enjoying nature. This is her third year at The Paisano and she is excited to serve as Managing Editor.

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