Members of the Student Assembly (S.A.) sounded off to the athletic directors at yesterday’s S.A. meeting. Instead of presenting a specific proposal to the Assembly, Athletic Director Andy Noel and Assistant Director of Athletics Tom Lafalce said, “We want to yield to questions that members of the S.A. may have about athletic issues.”
In response to the open invitation, representatives raised complaints ranging from the unavailability of hockey tickets to special treatment of athletes.
Last fall, the Athletic Department changed the system for allocating hockey tickets. Instead of sending forms home to all students over the summer, the Athletic Department required that students stand in line at the Field House in order to register for the ticket lottery.
Noel explained the change in policy as a response to complaints voiced by members of the athletic community.
“Coach [Mike] Schafer [’86] had a problem with spirit in the rink,” Noel said.
Many parents of freshmen would sign their children up for season tickets, resulting in vacant seats in Lynah Rink when the students weren’t interested in attending hockey games.
Schafer thought that if fans were required to camp out for their tickets, they “would truly have people who wanted to be at the rink the most, and therefore have a better crowd,” Noel explained.
Several S.A. members denounced the change.
“Have you guys looked at the system? I don’t think I’ve met a single person who’s praised the system,” said Mark Greenbaum ’02, College of Arts and Sciences representative.
Lafalce appealed for student input. “We’d be happy to have you come help us amend that system,” he said.
S.A. President Uzo Asonye ’02 expressed frustration over the new process. His concern centered around non-season ticket holders having the option to buy a ticket to a single game.
Lafalce explained that the option to buy tickets a few days in advance already exists.
Asonye noted that tickets should be available on game days.
“It’s not [on] the date of the game; I think that’s the key issue,” Asonye said. “That opportunity needs to be there.”
Lafalce commented that more than 500 seats were left empty at the recent playoff games, due to a lack of publicity.
“One problem is students tend to overestimate the unavailability of hockey tickets. There’s some misperception there,” Lafalce said.
Kira Moriah ’03, College of Arts and Sciences representative, brought up an additional concern: lack of funding and adequate space for club sports.
“Our program is the third or fourth largest in the nation. We are struggling to deal with our own varsity, intercollegiate space,” Noel replied. “We currently do not have enough fields for our varsity teams to practice,” he explained.
“Right now, we’re not in a position to help that much,” he said.
Noel noted that 40 percent of the athletic budget is funded by the University, while the remaining 60 percent is from its endowment and alumni donations to the department.
P.K. Agarwalla ’04, new student representative at large, remarked on the apparent inequality between athletes and the rest of the student body. Athletes have the option of benefits such as free private tutoring and laptops.
“Why can’t the entire student body enjoy these perks?” he asked.
“I think its an effort on our part to help students who are investing over 20 hours a week [in their sport]. They work really, really hard,” Noel replied.
Agarwalla disagreed. “You come to school to learn. And if you have a problem with time you have to make the right choices,” he said.
Noel replied, “We have 1,200 students who feel they want to have a dual challenge [in academics and athletics],” he said.
The S.A. faced a challenge of its own later in the meeting, debating whether or not the Student Assembly Finance Commission (SAFC) should open its allocation meetings to the public. They also examined the role that S.A. members play in the SAFC.
The SAFC allocates funds from the Student Activity Fee to various campus organizations. Students may appeal to the S.A. in a last attempt for funding, after appealing to the SAFC.
“There is a gap right now between the S.A. and the SAFC that needs to be acknowledged,” Asonye said.
Michael L. Bronstein ’02, undesignated representative at-large, said there is also a gap in understanding between the S.A. and the students.
“I think that the SAFC should [act] in a public manner