Fitness And Finance

Campus Issues: Student leaders must ensure that the RSF remains an easily accessible and appropriately priced resource for all.

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News that the ASUC and the Graduate Assembly are considering the finances of UC Berkeley's Recreational Sports Facility is a refreshing instance of the two bodies looking ahead to benefit future students.

The RSF is a great resource, and the high demand for its equipment and facilities is evident by constant crowds and myriad exercise classes. It's important for student officials and the Recreational Sports Department to continue to provide its service even as campus enrollment reaches record levels.

Currently, the RSF receives funding from all students - regardless of whether they choose to pay $10 for a semester-long membership. Both a $45 recreational sports fee and a $28.50 intramural sports fee are assessed on every student as mandatory "campus fees," which means that the real total membership cost is $83.50.

However, both of those fees will expire in 2016, and the RSF's limited space prompted discussion at last Wednesday's ASUC Senate meeting on whether a new fee should be authorized that would also fund expansion of the facility.

ASUC President Noah Stern suggested that if current fees were not renewed, access to the RSF would cost $100 to 150. This would be unacceptable - students wanting a safe, convenient place to exercise should not shoulder such a significant financial burden.

He also announced the formation of a new committee to consider the RSF's future. While we're interested to see their findings, we urge caution and expect the committee to perform its due diligence before deciding on any plan to expand the facility.

We are wary of any new fee increases after the tuition hikes and recent passage of the B.E.A.R.S. initiative, but if expansion could be done without overburdening students, it would be worth it. Committee members must keep this in mind as they deliberate and prioritize easy, affordable access to the RSF for all students.

This early start has much potential - student government officials must ensure that they, and their successors, make the best possible RSF a reality for the future.

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