Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Heed CSUN Student Vote on Sports : Quake-damaged university should reconsider commitment to intercollegiate athletics

October 23, 1994

Students at Cal State Northridge sent a message Wednesday when they voted down the second attempt this year to pass a referendum that would have increased fees allocated to the school's sports programs.

True, only 4,431 students participated in the telephone balloting. But that's more than the number of students who attend home team football games. It's also more than twice the number of students who participated in the last referendum.

We also question the supposed closeness of Wednesday's tally, with 2,315 against the increase in fees for athletics (to $49 per semester), and 2,116 in favor of it. Had not administrators and athletes performed a full-court press in arguing for the increase, it probably wouldn't have been as close as it was. It's also safe to argue that many of the older and job-holding students who didn't vote didn't attach much significance to the needs of the athletic department in the first place.

The fact of the matter is that CSUN had been in a posture of scaling back its overall offerings, with cutbacks in classes and faculty, before the Northridge quake . The temblor wrecked its library, administration buildings and classrooms. Enrollment stands at its lowest level in 21 years, and many classrooms are still being held in trailers. The rebuilding effort is slow and students are edgy about it. Under such circumstances, we're not sure why anyone expected success in asking students to cough up a 12-fold fee increase for sports.

Its defeat now leads to inevitable questions. Early on in her tenure, for example, CSUN President Blenda J. Wilson agreed to retain the school football program and to keep other athletic programs at the Division I level. The decision on football in particular has been further complicated by the fact that the California State University system has agreed to parity in men's and women's sports as part of a legal settlement with the National Organization for Women.

As painful as it might be, the time has come for Wilson and the CSUN community to scale down the school's lofty commitment to intercollegiate athletics, and football in particular.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|