UBC resumes charging $230 athletics fee this semester

Students will pay the Athletics and Recreation fee this semester, despite concerns that they won’t be around to use campus athletic facilities.

Managing Director of UBC Athletics and Recreation Kavie Toor said that the $230.82 fee — which UBC suspended last semester —is required this semester to pay for the cost of operating the facilities and programs.

“The majority of our facilities have remained open with student and community programming being accessed,” said Toor in an emailed statement. “The cost of operating these facilities and programs remain high despite reduced occupancy.”

Toor also stated that the Athletics and Recreation fee is not designed to be a “fee-for-service levy” on students, but is specifically designed to support ongoing operations.

UBC Recreation closed all sports facilities at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, but reopened some buildings in the summer.

The AMS was disappointed by UBC’s decision to collect the fee, said President Cole Evans.

“While we recognize the strains the pandemic has put on UBC Athletics and Recreation, we believe this burden is being passed down onto students,” said Evans.

The AMS suspended its $21 Athletics and Intramurals Fee last semester in response to COVID-19. The society is currently developing a subsidy program that will support students who cannot afford the fee, with more details expected later this semester.

However, to some, paying the fee goes beyond affordability — it is a concern of principle.

“I figured someone [at UBC Athletics and Recreation] has to keep the lights on, but I also have to keep the lights on in my own house,” said Andrew Hughes, a graduate student who lives in Squamish.

The rec fee, collected by the university through the Student Service Centre, has no opt out option.

“Since I can’t use the facilities, it seems a bit unfair that we can’t opt out much like we did for the U-Pass,” Hughes said.