The Tampa campus athletic flat fee of $10, tacked onto tuition costs, allows USF students to attend sporting events throughout the semester for free. Some believe the arts should receive the same treatment.
David Frankel, theatre professor and director of the play, “Life of Galileo,” said it is as important to support the arts as it is to support athletics, and that the question of whether to pursue the implementation of an arts fee has been ongoing for a long time.
“The thought pops up periodically,” Frankel said.
On average, there are about four theatre productions and three dance recitals a year. The tickets for these shows usually cost the same as a ticket for the current production of “Life of Galileo,” which is $8 for students.
If an arts fee were implemented, most, if not all, productions would become free for students.
“The fee wouldn’t be an extreme amount,” said Merry Lynn Morris, the theatre and dance adviser. She hopes if shows, recitals and some concerts were free, more students outside of the arts would attend.
Frankel said he understands that sometimes, $8 or $10 for every show can be hard to come by for students.
To compare, the athletic fee is $10 a semester for USF students with Tampa as their home campus. Both Frankel and Morris agree it would not exceed this amount.
Ticket sales for shows sometimes covers production costs, but often doesn’t, Frankel said. He hopes the implementation of an arts fee would pay for such things as set and costume materials, lights and production rights.
“An arts fee would help create more stable funding for the department and foster stronger arts programs, which would create a stronger university,” Frankel said.
“On a philosophical level, having an arts fee along with the athletic fee would show prospective students that the university values both,” Morris said.
Diandra Thompson, a junior majoring in theatre performance, said the budget for shows is already low, so the fee would really help.
“Art students already see shows for free, so we’d be paying again, but if it helps the department, I’m for it,” Thompson said.
“If all the shows were free, I’d definitely go,” psychology major Nicole Zasloff said. She said she often has friends encourage her to go to shows and recitals, but having to pay for each production makes it difficult for her to attend.
“It’s not fair athletics has a fee but the arts doesn’t,” Zasloff said. “Creativity is equally important as going to games and getting buff.”
Others, such as anthropology major Miranda Hammond, are opposed to more fees.
“I refuse to pay for yet another fee I will never use,” Hammond said. She said if the university wants to charge her for something superfluous, they must take care of another issue first – sparse parking.