Students protest student fees increase for YMCA


Evan Pflugradt

Amr Wahba, a protester, holds a sign in opposition to the construction of a YMCA facility on Wichita State’s campus. The proposal calls for a student fee of $7.75 per credit hour to be added to financially support the facility.

Eleven concerned students and activists peacefully protested outside the Rhatigan Student Center Wednesday. Why? The Y.

“It’s been what they want, not what we necessarily want,” engineering major Colton Hall said about WSU’s planned partnership with the YMCA. The protest was led by Hall, aerospace major Javin Martin and computer engineering major Amra Wahba.

Some protesters were concerned about a $7.75-per-credit hour tuition hike, some didn’t see a new fitness facility as necessary, or would rather have one not owned by a private company. All were there for the same overriding reason: they believe the planned partnership shows a lack of transparency between the administration and student body.

“They’ve been doing these talks for about two years now and we’re just now hearing about it,” Hall said.

Hall said he’d rather put money into the university, not the Y.

“Keep putting money into the campus, not into someone else’s pockets.”

Signs expressed the activists’ distaste for the partnership: “Y??”; “It’s not the lack of resources, it’s the lack of resourcefulness”; “Where’s the transparency?”

Midway through the hour-long protest, Vice President of Student Affairs Teri Hall spoke to the group, answering questions and addressing their concerns. She said that while talks of a new facility have happened for more than 18 months, it had been back and forth about what kind of facility.

She said the university is just now getting to the point for student input.

“It’s not a plot. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s ‘this is where we are, and this is why we need input at this time.’”

Protesters remained unconvinced. After the protest, Colton Hall addressed the student senate urging its members to wait for more information before voting on such a large investment by students.

SGA will vote on the proposed partnership Wednesday. If approved, the proposal will go to the president for approval.

Contributing: Chance Swaim