By Terry Schonberger
Lewis Robinovitch dribbles a basketball along the hardwood floor in the RAC’s lower gym.
He releases a shot beyond the arc. It spirals from his hand and through the air into the mesh. He grins and moves to recover the ball. But what he doesn’t know is that over the next two years it may cost him more to play the sports he loves in the RAC – an additional $76 to be exact.
“I didn’t even know the fee might go up,” Robinovitch said.
If full-time and part-time Ryerson students collectively agree on a ‘Yes’ vote to an online referendum question on Oct. 21, an increase in student athletic fees will be phased in over the next two years.
That will yield a 133 per cent increase-$38 in the fall of 2005 and another $38 in the fall of 2006. Over the past week, there has been a modest campaign advertising the referendum.
Few students who were polled, however, felt they received adequate information from the signs with tiny print posted around campus, or the vague e-mails sent by Campusnews.
Fewer noticed Sports and Recreation’s scarce and obscured banners, all of which suggested that students ‘Vote Yes.’ In an unofficial poll conducted among fifty Ryerson students, only a third felt that the campaign was effective in informing students.
Aaron Milic, an advertising expert for 24/7 Canada Inc., noted that this kind of one-sided advertising is seen frequently at universities. Milic says that an aggressive approach was taken to advertise this referendum.
“They try and target people. The call of action to vote yes’ is the very first thing students are seeing. It gets people’s attention,” Milic explained. This “call of action” implores students to vote in favour of the increase, even if it means that students are not fully exposed to the consequences of such a vote.
“The organizers are going about it the best way. We’d see similar attempts in our industry – ‘This is good for you, and here’s why’ – even though it’s not,” Milic said. “You’re supposed to tell people what to do. Don’t leave it up to the people.”
David Dubois, athletic director, is the principle figure behind the vote ‘Yes’ campaign. “We’re looking at winning,” he said. “We’re looking at an inclusive pricing structure.” To address any confusion, three information sessions were hosted by Dubois on Oct. 14, Oct. 18 and Oct. 20.
Only four students showed up for the Oct. 14 meeting at the Student Success Centre in Jorgensen Hall. Milic suggested that this referendum was both about offering new services to students and obtaining funds from students.
“They are a big business. They want the money. As much as they’re trying to offer more, they want the money up front.” Milic said. There are three pre-vote days, Oct. 18-20, and one formal vote day on Oct. 21.
Students are able to access the referendum on-line from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m