Editor, Daily Nexus,

This letter is in response to the Daily Nexus’ opposition to both the Aquatic Facility Fee and the Athletic Scholarship Fee (“Election Endorsements,” April 16, 2003). I think the Nexus is way off base in its statements regarding these two initiatives, and I’m here to let the student body know just what the truth is.

First of all, the Nexus states that “… our sports programs aren’t the highest priority for most students.” Well, if that is the case, then why does the Nexus have an entire section each day devoted to sports news? If students were not interested in UCSB athletics, why would the Nexus waste valuable ad space by printing these stories? Why isn’t there a section devoted to engineering, chemistry or women’s studies? The general feeling on campus is that athletics comes second to academics. That may be the case, but athletics is not far behind.

Let’s say you were graduating from the University of North Carolina, Duke or even UCLA. Those institutions are not necessarily any better than UCSB academically. But you can bet that someone with the same qualifications as you who graduated from one of those schools is going to have a better shot at a job because those schools are very well-known. Why? Athletics. Everyone knows about Duke and Carolina basketball, and UCLA football and basketball. No one knows UCSB athletics. But no one knows UCSB engineering either. Not many know about our Nobel Prize winners. Unless you are going into one of those fields, the prestige of our academic programs here at UCSB will not boost your degree. But athletics could.

The UCSB Athletic Dept. is cutting its budget left and right. It is struggling to compete against schools with brand new facilities and lots of money. But the students also pay much higher tuition costs than we will ever have to pay here at UCSB. Adding a measly $17 a quarter to your fees is not going to break any student here. And the idea of helping so many people with so little money is a pretty good thing. You never know what interview you might go into where the employer says to you, “Hey, I love UCSB basketball. I go to all the games. That’s great that you went there!” Vote yes on the Aquatic Facility and Athletic Scholarship Initiatives!