Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878

More information needed on AC funding

Last year, the Athletic Complex saw its budget slashed, and an initiative to give $100,000 to the AC failed to garner the necessary supporters to make the ballot. This year, the money usually allocated to pay for students to use the cycle studio (free of charge) has also been cut from the budget and, unless it is added over the summer, students will be required to pay to use the AC’s cardio facilities.

I want to be unhappy with these decisions. As a freshman, I was in the gym from 8 to 11 in the evenings, and during the day, I spent an hour in the cycle studio. Had the hour cutbacks and potential cardio charges been instituted a year ago, I would have been furious. My schedule at the time was such that going to the gym late at night maximized the amount of time I spent studying—which second semester was commonly a 16-hour affair—and had I been inclined to make the smart decision, I would have more or less cut the gym out of my life.

I was, however, an exceptional case. I cannot count the number of times 10:45 p.m. rolled around—9:45 on Fridays—and I would be the last one in the gym. It was highly anomalous for there to be more than five people at closing time, and the cycling studio was always deserted late at night with the exception of a forlorn-looking attendant.

I can understand the early closing of the AC––less so the potential charging for use of the cycle studio. The argument has been made that one can use the South 40 Fitness Center, which is equipped with weights and more cardio machines, but as bizarre a complaint as it seems, for many, this is too far a walk. The option of a free cardio facility, and one located near the Village, was always a good one to have, and while the cycle studio was empty at closing time, during the day, I frequently had to settle for a less-than-ideal machine.

Perhaps more irksome is the rationale for the defunding of the AC. One Student Union senator, who wished to remain anonymous, explained that the money was being diverted to class council budgets, the individual speakers fund and the salary of a new technology coordinator. When asked about the role of the technology coordinator, however, the senator responded, “I legit don’t know.”

Stop. An SU senator, someone charged with, among other things, overseeing the distribution of funds, has no idea where tens of thousands of dollars are going to go; money which could otherwise be used to say, make the cycling studio free and keep the AC open until 11:00 p.m. for the next year.

That is alarming. I can support closing the AC at an earlier time, and I can understand that some programs can be prioritized over a free cardio center. But for a Student Union senator to have no idea where money goes, money that has amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years—siphoned from the AC fund—is unacceptable. Student Union’s decision to limit the AC’s functionality may make sense, but if the alternative uses are either so trivial or so incomprehensible that senators don’t understand them, then the money would be better used for the Athletic Complex.

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  • S. says:

    I love you.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that “unnamed” senator is in the Engineering School. He should know what a technology coordinator does.

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Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878