On Wednesday, March 1, the Detroit Free Press published an article called "Eastern Michigan University plans to spend $35M on athletic upgrades". Since then, student government has responded to what the article states:
To those it may concern,
Student Government learned from The Detroit Free Press about the $35 million proposal to renovate and relocate several of Eastern Michigan University’s athletic facilities. Eastern’s Student Government was mentioned in that article. As background, our Student Body Senate passed a resolution (S.Res. 103-18) several weeks ago in support of a minimal student opt-out fee to generate funds to renovate the University’s Rec/IM facilities in partnership with the University and outside donors. The Rec/IM facilities are used by students, student clubs, employees, alumni, and the community for a wide variety of recreational and educational purposes. We must, however, make clear that Student Government did not intend to, nor do we, support using any University funds for a multi-million dollar renovation of our athletic facilities outside of the plans to renovate the Rec/IM. To be clear, any renovations or additions to any of the University’s athletics facilities as part of this $35 million plan, aside from the Rec/IM, must be 100% funded with dollars from outside donors.
We strongly support the strides our student athletes have made in our history as a University. Many of our collegiate teams, such as track and field, swimming, and gymnastics are the best in the MAC. We are proud to support these programs and confident that the significant investments contemplated in the Regents’ plan can be funded with the support of generous donors. However, Student Government WILL NOT support any renovations to the athletic facilities as a part of this $35 million plan, outside of the Rec/IM, that involve a single cent of University dollars.
Over the course of the last several years Eastern Michigan University has been forced to make a series of incredibly tough cuts to many academic and student programs. Meanwhile, the Athletics Department has enjoyed generous increases to its budget. These priorities are misplaced. Therefore, if the Board of Regents was or is able to locate any General Fund dollars to support the renovation of athletics facilities beyond the Rec/IM, then we insist that those funds be re-invested in the academic and student affairs programs and services that have been cut or under-funded in the past years.
We urge that the University’s Board of Regents not approve any plan for new or renovated athletics facilities, beyond the Rec/IM, if that plan involves the use of any University dollars. Student Government will continue to monitor the situation.
Tanasia Morton Joshua Starr
Student Body President Student Body Vice-President