UC Davis students may soon have to pay a greater price for fitness.
UC Davis students currently enjoy unlimited access to courses offered by the physical education department as part of their university fees. That could change as early as fall 2009 as the department is currently in talks with Campus Recreation to implement participation fees for some of its classes.
“UC Davis students already pay for P.E. courses through their registration fees,” said Jeff Weidner, director for the physical education department. “However, there are certain P.E. classes taught using facilities operated by Campus Recreation, for which some form of an activities fee will probably be charged.“
The fee will likely be applied some time next year and will only be applied to classes taught in the group exercise room and on the rock wall, Weidner said.
Director of Campus Recreation, John Campbell, said the decision to implement fees for specific courses makes sense under current Activities and Recreation Center policy.
“The ARC is completely funded by student fees,” he said. “It does not receive any state funding and was not intended to operate academic courses. Currently, students have to pay fees for use of any facility that is not state funded, for example, the Craft Center and Equestrian Center. This includes the group exercise room and rock wall within the ARC.“
Campbell said discussions to implement an activities fee for those classes were partly a response to complaints by students who pay to use the facilities outside of P.E. classes.
“We had students coming forward saying, ‘Why should I have to pay to use these facilities while students in P.E. classes have access to them for free?‘” he said. “Those students had a point. We have 1,600 students [this quarter] coming through here and using those facilities for P.E. classes … that is a lot of wear and tear on the equipment that is being paid for by other students.“
In addition to creating a consistent policy for all students, the fees would also help the ARC meet rapidly growing operating costs, Campbell said.
“Fitness and wellness has just exploded in growth here on campus,” Campbell said. “[Campus Recreation] really needs these new fees to keep up with this growth. It also allows us to keep expanding our offerings to our members.… We are trying to do this in a way that is meaningful and fair to all students.“
However, some students feel additional fees will only discourage students from participating in P.E. classes.
“I think [the new fees] will likely keep a lot of students for signing up for those classes,” said Natalie Kirkish, a junior international relations major who currently takes multiple P.E. courses. “I think we have an amazing program here, but I probably won’t take those classes in the future if the fee is over $20. It just seems unreasonable since I already pay tuition.“
Weidner said specifics about the fee amounts have not been determined and will become clearer as discussions continue between the P.E. department and Campus Recreation.
“We have not yet discussed actual fees or method of collection –whether it would be done through students‘ accounts or not,” he said. “Currently, the department is trying to work out some sort of tiered fee schedule where students would have the option of paying a flat fee for unlimited use of the facilities … this option would actually end up being less expensive.”
Campbell said that fees for additional courses such as racquetball may be added in the future but there are no plans yet to do this.
“That could be something that happens down the line, but our focus right now is on seeing what this first set of fees accomplishes and then looking at the future,” he said. “We want to take this slowly and see where it gets us. The ARC is a great venue for holding these courses … our goal is to continue that.“
ERICA LEE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.