They Made Their Mark in The Year That Was : CSUN STUDENTS : Funding Proposal Rejected


Somewhere at Cal State Northridge, somebody fits the following profile of the school’s average student, which is based on school demographic data and the results of two critical campus elections:

Female, undergraduate, age 24.5, not particularly crazy about contributing money to college sports.

It’s the latter that has put the Northridge athletic department in hot water. Athletics faces a deficit of $700,000 for 1995-96 and it was hoped that the student body would help foot the bill.


Not now, students said. Twice.

A handful of colleges in the state had succeeded with a rather simple fund-raising plan and Northridge decided to try its hand. Last spring, a referendum was placed on the Associated Students ballot and voters were asked to voluntarily hike their semester fees, with the money earmarked for athletics.

The spring referendum, with little formal campaigning by the athletic department, was defeated. The vote was painfully close, 993-906.

Administrators believed that a more-organized campaign, which would underscore the Northridge plight to the public, would succeed.

Another referendum was placed on the ballot in October. Athletics organized a formal campaign and enlisted the support of its athletes, many of whom spoke to student groups and their peers.

The school outlined the negatives associated with another referendum defeat. Namely, after five years at the NCAA Division I level, a move to Division II was a possibility since programs would be slashed.

The price tag for each student was $49 per semester, which would have generated $2.25 million annually. For their largess, students would be granted free admission to home athletic events and two new programs would be created.


Despite facing no organized opposition, the measure was defeated in the largest election turnout in Northridge history, 2,315 to 2,116. The percentage breakdown, compared to the results of the spring referendum, was identical--the nay vote was 52.2%.

Months later, athletics officials are still waiting for the other shoe to drop. A series of funding scenarios have been presented by President Blenda J. Wilson.

Twice beaten, thrice shy? Not exactly. School officials plan a third referendum in March.

School officials indicate it will be the last--and it could mark the last breath for four programs. Football, women’s basketball, men’s soccer and men’s swimming will be eliminated if the referendum fails.