From April 17-30, Case Western Reserve University undergraduate students will have the opportunity to vote on a referendum that would allow club sports to join the Student Presidents’ Roundtable (SPR). If 25 percent of all undergraduate students vote and a simple majority of that percentage votes in favor of the referendum, then the Intercollegiate Club Athletics (ICA) board will be created and receive 6.5 percent of the total Student Activities Fee.
Funding for existing SPR organizations would decrease to make room for the proposed ICA board. The University Media Board (UMB) will see the biggest decrease in funding if the referendum passes. The referendum will cut approximately 19 percent of UMB’s Student Activities Fee allocation. USG will see an approximately 11 percent decrease in funding, and the Class Officers Collective will see a 9.4 percent decrease. The University Program Board (UPB), currently the largest recipient of Student Activities Fee funding, will see a 1.3 percent decrease.
Dan Hopkins, a fourth-year student studying macromolecular science and engineering, is one of the main proponents of the referendum. Hopkins has participated in club sports during his entire time at CWRU and previously served as the president of Club Ice Hockey.
“Playing ice hockey at CWRU has been the highlight of my undergraduate experience, and it would mean a lot to me if I could leave knowing that many more Spartans can have the same experience I did,” Hopkins said in an email.
Hopkins stated that club sports should not continue to apply for funding from USG because club sports form a group that is unlike the majority of USG’s over 200 recognized student organizations. Instead, club sports are asking to form their own board. Hopkins believes that becoming a part of SPR is the next logical step for club sports and that club sports have done as much as they can on their own to ensure consistent funding.
According to Hopkins, “The reasons for club sports wanting to start the Intercollegiate Club Athletics (ICA) board were based off of years of growing frustration with the way our space and money were secured in the past, and the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) was a part of that.”
According to SPR’s Chair Ammar Abidi, the decrease in funding of SPR organizations is one of the largest effects of the ICA board joining SPR.
“Ensuring that the boards whose base allocations would be decreased are still able to contribute to the campus community effectively [would be a major ramification],” said Abidi. “This would especially be a challenge for COC and UMB due [to] the large percentage decrease in their funding.”
Advocates of club sports joining SPR note that USG’s decrease in funding will not negatively affect the funding of other USG organizations because club sports currently receive more funding from USG than the decrease USG funding would experience if the referendum is passed.
Abidi also sees another potential problem with club sports joining SPR. Abidi believes club sports’ scope needs to be reconciled with SPR’s mission.
“SPR is an organization focused on the CWRU campus as a whole, and Club Sports as it currently exists now largely serves a subset of students,” said Abidi.
Hopkins, however, believes the benefits of club sports joining SPR outweigh the potential costs.
“I really believe this can benefit the vast majority of the campus,” said Hopkins, “and hope that the club sports program finally gets the recognition and support that a lot of us feel it deserves, especially because so many students are already involved.”
The Observer is a member of the University Media Board and is affected by the results of the referendum.