ICYMI, we launched a survey a few weeks ago asking if you would support USF Student Government adding a student fee to help fund an on-campus stadium.
Well, we got more responses than we expected. Thank you to the 1,437 that responded, watching the results roll in was certainly interesting.
Now, I’m not gonna pretend this is the most scientific survey ever put together, but I think we all know where we stand on this issue. Nor was the number of responses actually significant (if we’re looking at responses compared to undergraduate enrollment, it’s 3.49% of USF Tampa’s current student body). But that’s still almost 1,500 people voicing their support or dissent. It certainly doesn’t suck.
That said, lets dig in.
A majority of people support building a stadium to some degree, with 716 (49.86%) strongly supporting a stadium. However, the second most popular answer was “strongly against”, with 279 votes (19.43%), 61 more votes than “support” (218, 15.18%). 128 (8.91%) were neutral on the matter, and 95 (6.62%) were simply against.
However, answers were more mixed when asking about supporting a student fee. The for/against was separated by 13 votes, 664 supporting to some degree and 651 against to some degree. Plurality was “strongly against,” with 499 (34.73%), followed by “strongly support” at 399 (27.77%). Neutral accounted for 122 votes (8.49%).
When asked if you thought it was fair to place a fee on students, plurality didn’t think it was, 675 to 590, and 172 neutral votes. Strongly against (disagree, whatever. I meant to write “against.” Sue me.) had the easy plurality, with 498 (35.66%). Strongly support (or agree) was second, with 344 (23.94%). Support had 246 (17.12%) and against had 177 (12.32%).
I won’t go into as much detail about what dollar amounts one would support the students paying, but “none” led the way in popularity, commanding 493 votes (34.55%). The second was $50 with 230 (16.12%). Under $30 was third with 195 (13.67%).
Here’s where the data becomes borderline alarming. What would alumni donate per semester? A whopping 618 (44.11%) people voted “Nothing” after getting the ballot box stuffed by one specific demographic. We’ll revisit this further down. Over $80 and $50 came in second and third with 253 (18.06%) and 245 (17.49%).
Now let’s be real, this affects current students the most. Alumni can choose to donate, but students will be obligated to pay this fee as part of their tuition if enacted (unless the school gives the students an “opt-out” clause).
There were 776 students (undergraduate and graduate) who responded to the survey. Majority support building a football stadium, with 61.6% in some sort of support for building a stadium (41.88% strongly supported).
However, a majority of students did NOT support a student fee for the stadium, with 57.99% of students against the fee in some fashion (43.56% strongly against), and 59.02% saying it wouldn’t be fair to students to add a stadium fee.
These results mirrored when asked the largest fee students would support. $0 was the most popular, with 39.56% of student votes, over twice as many votes as the second most popular response of “under $30” (307 and 152 respectively).
Something USF might want to look into comes in the next question. When asked if they would donate as an alumni, $0 took the majority by itself, owning 54.08% of votes. Now, am I reading into a small survey too much? Probably, but half the student responses said they would not donate for a stadium after they graduate. Is this a sign that USF is doing a poor job of creating a future donor base? Quite possibly, but this is also a pretty small survey in the grand scheme of things.
When splitting the student vote between those that had to take out loans for school and those that didn’t, both sets of responses are almost completely identical to the overall student findings and each other, so nothing particularly note-worthy there.
Additionally, the 12 incoming freshmen that answered were split right down the middle on a student fee being added and for building a stadium in general.
Alumni, you disagreed with the students over a student fee. 69.1% supported a student fee being added and 61.17% thought it was fair to students to add a fee. That’s all fine and dandy, but those fees wouldn’t affect alumni. (Personally, as a recent graduate, it’s a lot easier to say “I’d support that fee as a student!” as an alumni than as a student, especially when there’s already an athletics fee.)
Here are the questions that matter:
You can do math. My only comment: when the time comes, put your money where your mouth is because students can’t do this alone.
Discussion on comments and results
Again, the results only account for a very small percentage of the entire student body at USF, and not even given the number of alumni. However, over half of the 700+ students that responded would not be for an additional fee tacked onto tuition. The comments in the class pages were often rather explicit in their dissent, with a common comment being “why am I going to pay for something I’m never going to get to see?” While these weren’t counted, I think it shows a rather large difference between alumni and current students. The current student body is not concerned with football. As nice as a stadium would be, it’s clearly not a priority anymore and student attendance at football games confirms that.
The results of this survey also seem to reflect that sentiment. Students would appreciate a stadium, but not enough to really support adding on to their tuition. Alumni are all-in, but they’re no longer obligated to give money to USF. The USF Athletics survey may shed more light onto the whole situation as it’ll reach a much larger audience than our site can. But for right now, student government adding a stadium fee: Student opinion seems significantly more split than USF might want us to think.