Virtual instruction leaves students questioning BRIC fees

With the announcement that Cal Poly Pomona will shift to virtual instruction for the fall semester, students have been left wondering why they must continue to pay fees for facilities that, in the era of social distancing, remain closed. Chief among these facilities is the Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex (BRIC).

The BRIC, operated by the Associated Students Inc. (ASI), is funded by the ASI Facilities and Operations fee that also funds the Bronco Student Center (BSC). Students are currently charged $403.97 as part of this fee.

Third-year civil engineering student Nathaniel Agraso worked at the BRIC as an operation attendant but was furloughed at the end of the spring semester. Agraso expressed his discomfort with paying the full fee.

“It just depends what ASI keeps open and what’s available to the students,” Agraso said. “Like for example, if the BRIC is going to be closed and we still pay the fee then that does not benefit any of (the) student workers who work at the BRIC. Because the BRIC is closed, we don’t get any hours and ASI is still getting your fee.”

The BRIC has been closed to students all summer, and will remain closed for the 2020 fall semester. (Jonathan Frias | The Poly Post)

ASI recently updated their Student Fees section on its website to answer questions that detail how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the organization and its use of student funds.

Services that will still be funded through student fees include student representation and governance, student club and organization activities, ASI programs, and future projects. Additionally, fees will be used for maintenance and continued bond payments of the BRIC and the BSC. For example, the swimming pool restoration at the BRIC is estimated to cost $400,000.

Krista Smith, ASI’s director of campus recreation, stated the restoration has already begun and the whole process of restoring the pool, will take a little over a month.

Smith explained the restoration process for the pool started with draining, and from there they repair tiles, inlets, and replace the pool grates and two main drain covers.

Many students have voiced their opinions on paying full price for facilities they will not have access to, mainly discussing how they should not be paying for the BRIC if it is not open for use.

The concerns of refunds reached Smith and she stated, “Cal Poly Pomona is following the policies and guidance of the California State University Chancellor’s Office governing tuition and fees.” The policy describes different circumstances in which a person can receive an entire refund of mandatory and tuition fees. One way to get a complete refund of mandatory and tuition fees is if students drop all classes prior to the end of campus designated drop period.

Maintaining the BRIC is a focal point for ASI as they have their staff onsite throughout the week to provide critical maintenance and custodial support.

Due to the lack of in-person workouts at the BRIC, ASI began a series or streaming videos of free workouts and workshops. Currently, the workouts range from tae kwon do, yoga and meditation. CPP students have access to these workouts on the Steaming @ CPP website.

Fourth-year electrical engineering student Aheizer Lopez discussed how he is unlikely to use the BRIC online services. “Is it worth it? Honestly, I don’t think many people would want to go online,” Lopez said. “I think the fee should be reduced because not as many will be using these virtual services.”

ASI is preparing the BRIC to reopen when the campus deems it safe to and will follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, LA County Public Health, and the California State University.

Smith explained how they will keep people informed of new policies, “We will communicate to students and the campus community through email and ASI’s website and social media to prepare for what to expect once we have an approved reopening plan and date set.”

The BRIC is adjusting their services to be more reachable during the pandemic. For more information about how ASI utilizes their funds visit the Student Fees section on the ASI website.

Students who can’t use the BRIC can access ASI’s virtual training athletics classes and workshops.

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