A hypothetical student fee of $30-80 a semester to help finance an on-campus stadium could also fund a new parking garage on campus, Student Government (SG) Sen. Yousef Afifi told The Oracle on Wednesday.
The potential fee was originally mentioned publicly by Student Body President Moneer Kheireddine at his State of the Student Body Address on March 28, with Kheireddine only mentioning the possible fee being used to fund a stadium. Afifi, however, confirmed that the proposed fee, if passed through a student vote, would also help fund a new parking garage to help with parking on game day and for every-day use.
Construction for the parking garage would most likely break ground at the same time as the stadium, Afifi said, but would take less time to construct.
“It’s not just paying more money to get a stadium on campus,” Afifi said. “It’s paying a relatively miniscule amount in terms to the ratio to what you (students) are already paying, to contribute to this grand project that has the potential to incur so many benefits onto the university and its students.”
Afifi compared the proposed fee to the A&S fee. Currently, students pay $7 per semester and $12.08 per credit hour in A&S. He said both contribute “to the student experience.” He also emphasized that the proposed student fee to fund an on-campus stadium and parking garage is one of many options to fund a stadium.
Just as there is no set location to construct a stadium on campus, there is also not a specific location planned to build a parking garage, Afifi said.
Afifi emphasized that all discussions for the fee are hypothetical and still in its early stages. No proposal has been brought to the Senate floor and there hasn’t been an official announcement of when it will.
Afifi, who said the original idea for the student fee was his, believes if SG doesn’t act quickly to enable a fee to help fund an on-campus stadium, it may miss its chance.
“If our football team has a subpar season the next season or the year after and we go back to our old ways, the talk about constructing a stadium is going to all but vanish,” Afifi said. “If we don’t have a stadium and we start becoming bad again, it kind of depletes the argument we could make to have one constructed.”
Afifi also said, however, he will not push a fee if a majority of the student body is against it.
“I’m open to all suggestions,” Afifi said. “I’m also open to all ideas that further the initiative. I think you help alleviate parking severely during the times when traffic is crazy on campus and you also get a football stadium. That has so many benefits to the student experience and student body. It’s a package deal.”