The committee set up to review sports provision in Oxford has this week announced a near doubling of the funding for sports within the University.
It also proposes greater coordination between the University and colleges, which should save colleges money.
The funding increase would be achieved by an increase in the college levy. Colleges currently contribute £150,000 per year to sports facilities, but since 1966 this has fallen behind inflation. The report recommends that £30 million be raised to develop the sports facilities at Iffley road.
The report heavily criticised the current state of sports provision in Oxford. “Facilities for sport at Oxford are seriously inadequate for modern requirements in terms of quality, quantity and r
ange of activities covered.”
Oxford did not compare well with its peer universities in terms of sports provision. There was also concern on the over-provision for team sports at college level. The cost to individual colleges per game of team sport such as rugby can be up to £900.
While welcoming increased funding for sports in principle, OUSU has struck out at a part of the report which appears to suggest that if funding for the Iffley Road development cannot be met through donations and other fundraising, it should be covered by introducing a charge to all students.
The report states that the £30 million needed for the Iffley Road plans could be covered by borrowing the money. This would lead to £3 million per year interest, which could be covered by a charge of £150 per year to each student. A motion passed unanimously at OUSU Council on Wednesday opposed “the possibility of a regressive per capita levy on individual students of £150 per year for the next 30 years.”
Jonny Medland, OUSU VP for AcAff commented, “Broadly speaking the review has come back with excellent conclusions. There’s a definite need to improve sports facilities at Oxford… Sport is an integral part of student life at Oxford and anything which improves the student experience in this way is a good thing.”
His concerns lay with the principle of charging students for improvements to facilities. “Even if this is the worst-case scenario for funding the project, it’s important that we say now that the costs of the project shouldn’t be charged to students in this way.”
A spokesperson from Oxford University stated that, “The mention of tuition fees and a £150 levy within this report was illustrative of the maximum per capita cost of funding a new sports complex. It is there to give a sense of scale and context. It was certainly not a proposal.”