Damon Sims, the vice president in charge of campus recreation facilities, is apparently the driving force behind the new policy excluding all except dues-paying members from campus buildings like the IM Building, Rec Hall and the McCoy Natatorium. The dues have been set at a very high level, $500 for alumni and other townspeople, and $230 (lump sum) for retirees, whether we are interested in using expensive fitness equipment or not. Twice during the past month, I have protested to Sims and to President Eric Barron and Provost Nick Jones. No one has answered my complaint. I have also offered an alternative scheme of pro-rating the fee by monthly automatic payment of $20 or so — no response to this suggestion either.
In my case, I just need to walk in a comfortable place, winter and summer, since at 75 I no longer run and never was much interested in fitness machines. I will not be paying these fees. To the extent that I am forced to find expensive alternatives, on my fixed income I will have to think about reducing my monthly commitment to PSU philanthropy. I am sure the new policy will have a similar effect on others with fixed incomes, and thus may become self-defeating. It’s also unfair to longtime community users of the buildings who never harmed or inconvenienced anyone. The argument of providing security in the post-Sandusky era rings hollow when one remembers that the brutal recent scandals involved trusted employees and students, not outsiders.
Steven H. Smith,