Why students should vote ‘no’ on ARC Referendum and how it will hold AS accountable

by Dana Tsuri-Etzioni, Opinion Editor

>Read the case for ‘yes’ here.

On the surface, the Aztec Recreation Center Referendum seems like ideal progress for San Diego State. The gym gets crowded by students during the day, and a larger gym would be nice for the students that use it.

For those who do not use the ARC, however, this referendum, which calls to make the ARC bigger by adding a fee to future students’ tuitions, does far more harm than good.

With the ARC refurbishing comes a $195-per-semester fee – a required fee added to tuition regardless of whether the student uses the ARC. College students are already struggling to pay tuition, textbook fees and other expenses. This is a problem. Students should not have to pay an extra $390 per year for an amenity that is not necessary.

SDSU already has a gym, aquaplex and recreation center. There’s an ARC express that caters to those that want to work out in a quieter setting. If the university wants to expand its amenities, why not spend more on the arts?

A great deal of university spending goes into sports — and rightfully so. Sports make universities attractive to incoming students, and athletes can bring income to the university as well.

But the university should look to become more well-rounded by enhancing the art programs it provides and look to enrich the minds of students. Associated Students should spend money on theater programs, music and art classes. Give students the option to buy museum or film festival tickets for less. Teaching museums — places on campus where students can witness objects and artifacts in person instead of in a book — would be a beneficial addition to the campus. Regardless of individual interests in the arts, teaching museums would enhance any student’s learning. Investing in campus art means investing in increasing student literacy.

According to the book, Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art, people now communicate through graphics, images and videos more than through text. Having accessible student museums would help develop a different kind of literacy in those that don’t already have it.

Expanding the arts wouldn’t just impact the liberal arts majors. In the book, Art Thinking, author Amy Whitaker explains how being surrounded by creativity helps science, engineering and business majors to become more creative and explore what else is possible within their fields.

If the university is going to take more money out of students’ pockets, it should at least look to spend it on an area that’s been overlooked.

If A.S. wants to expand the ARC, it should. What it shouldn’t do is impose a large fee on students when the ARC isn’t even used by the entire student body. The large fee shouldn’t be imposed to enhance the arts either. But, if A.S. is looking to expand a portion that will benefit the student body, the arts are a good place to start.

Enough money goes into enhancing the student body’s physical strengths, and now more should go into enhancing the mind.

Don’t vote ‘no’ because of the logic that we already have a gym and don’t need more than that. Vote ‘no’ in order to hold A.S. accountable for what the university promises, providing “transformative experiences for students in research, international experiences, sustainability and entrepreneurship initiatives, and a broad range of student life and leadership opportunities.” 

Leadership starts here, and leadership should start by enhancing the mind.