After a month of playing tug-of-war with University administrators, the battle against the newly implemented football general admission seating policy has come to a halt.
In late April, the University Athletic Department announced a new policy for the 2013 football season that made student seating general admission, regardless of credit hours earned, and increased season football ticket prices from $205 to $295, or 23.08 percent per home game.
In an April 22 article on the policy, Associate Athletic Director Dave Ablauf said the change was made to “create a culture of arriving early to provide our football student-athletes with a home field advantage prior to kickoff” and boost low student attendance.
However, at the last Central Student Government assembly meeting of the winter semester, two resolutions were introduced and passed in the CSG house expressing discontent with the change in seating policy.
While the resolution could not direct the Athletic Department to implement immediate change, its passing gave Business senior Michael Proppe, president of the Central Student Government, leverage to directly approach Athletic Director Dave Brandon and address the Board of Regents regarding student opposition.
Proppe spoke to Brandon earlier this month, and said while his conversation with Brandon began as a request to alter the policy, he achieved limited success in convincing the athletic director to reverse his decision.
“I think (the discontentment) will go away in a couple of years when it becomes the new normal,” Proppe said. “But it would have been nice to have a conversation about this beforehand so students could have raised what their concerns are”
But the question remains whether student government served as an effective tool to influence greater University decisions, and if a dialogue with students preceding the implementation of the policy could have affected its outcome.
“Who knows if that could have changed anything? They are not by any means beholden to the whims of student government,” Proppe said. “But it’s at least a conversation that can make the athletic department more mindful of (students’) concerns.”
In response to their conversation, Proppe said Brandon agreed to address student concerns and recommendations at a CSG assembly meeting in September — the date of which has yet to be decided.
The resolution also enabled CSG to address the regents at its monthly meeting in early May. While Proppe acknowledged that there was a “glimmer of hope” that the regents would overturn the policy, he had a greater agenda in mind.
“The biggest takeaway I wanted to get from that was that we were (not only) unhappy about the policy, but we were unhappy about the process,” he said. “My long term strategy with (addressing the Regents) was that in future decisions they should go to us and allow us the opportunity to ask questions.”
To meet the needs of this secondary concern, CSG passed another resolution that would “call for student input in student ticketing policies set by the University of Michigan Athletic Department.”
Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones acknowledged that CSG has “numerous opportunities to influence campus administrative decisions” through its various committees, commissions and assemblies.
Jones added that CSG executive officers could regularly meet with University administrators — including the Dean of Students, Vice President for Student Affairs and the President of the University — to contribute “student government input on issues and concerns impacting the campus community.”
“I know they pay attention,” Proppe said. “We can influence decisions that the University makes and we have the power to lobby.”
But ultimately, whether it was for reversing the football ticketing policy or any future administrative decision, Proppe said student government was to remain in an advisory role.
The Athletic Department did not respond to requests for comment on the policy.
—Correction Appended: A previous version of this article misstated the percentage increase in student season ticket pricing.