RSF fees for nonstudent members to increase Sept. 1

J. Hannah Lee/File
Hannah Lee/File

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The UC Berkeley Recreational Sports Facility will implement a one-time fee increase of $3 per month for all nonstudent members starting Sept. 1.

RSF officials say fee hikes are necessary, as the cost of running programs and facilities has risen considerably in several years, but membership fees have not increased.

UC Berkeley faculty and staff fees will increase annually from $420 per year to $456 per year. Community members, defined as people who are not associated with the university, will see their annual fees increase from $744 to $780, and fees for alumni will rise from $648 to $684 per year.

For community members, the fee increase will not affect short-term memberships, day passes or the Cal Star Program, a membership plan for individuals with disabilities. The $10 semester membership fee UC Berkeley students pay to use the facility will also not increase.

“This increase is needed to offset rising costs of current operations,” said director of recreational sports Mike Weinberger, who cited a mandated 2 percent raise for all nonunionized university employees, implemented by former chancellor Robert Birgeneau in March. He said that benefits and salaries are the facility’s largest expenses.

“Cal Rec Sports does not have the power to shift the costs to currently enrolled students,” Weinberger said. “The only (guaranteed) funding we get from the university comes from campus-based fees, so we have to come up with the money elsewhere.”

Enrolled students pay compulsory campus-based fees, which are used to fund the university’s programs and facilities and cannot be changed without a student government referendum. Referendums passed in 1981 and 2006 authorized some of the fees currently funding RSF operations.

Weinberger added that a membership fee increase was planned even if a referendum from earlier this year, the health and wellness referendum, had gone into effect. The referendum would have increased student fees by $40 per semester to help fund the RSF but was nullified in May.

Ted Friedman, a Berkeley resident who has been using RSF for 15 years, said the RSF’s new price, when compared to other gyms in the area, is still a bargain.

“This is one of the best gyms in the Bay Area, and if there’s a need to keep it running, I’m OK with paying a little extra,” Friedman said.

Contact Dennis Vidal at [email protected].