Grambling State cheerleaders are slightly disheartened with the student body for not voting to pass an increase to their bill.
This year, the cheerleaders sought to add $5 for the semester and $2.50 for the summer to their current fee, which is $10. The extra revenue would be geared toward assisting with equipment and traveling expenses to games and competitions. “As a team we are not really struggling,” said Tiana Smith, a junior, who has been a Grambling cheerleader for three years.
“We work with what we have but, if the increased bill was passed, it definitely would have been used for new mats because our mats are really old. The ballot came along with the Student Government Association election ballots.
There were three additional referendums: the Student Activity supplemental fee. That added $35 to tuition during the semester and $17.50 during the summer for all campus-wide activities and Favrot Student Union Board events to be free of charge to students. Health, Intramural/Recreation and Student Union Inclusion requested $35 per semester for the intramural fee and $40 for the Student Union fee along with the current fee of $25 for health.
The Earl Lester Cole Honors College asked for $3 during the semester and $1.50 in the summer. This fee goes toward the ELC Honors College to help them hold conferences and present in school-wide functions.
All bills were passed except for the Cheerleading Team bill. Smith thinks that the bills were not broadcast around campus enough. “…I do not believe that the word got around to students. But honestly, the word about the student fee increase didn’t get around and that got passed. The Honors College fee increase didn’t get around and that got passed as well,” said Smith.
She also added that she doesn’t think that students believe there is a purpose for the increase, which is why they did not get enough “yes” votes.
“I feel like our school have other things to spend our money on rather than better uniforms or better traveling expenses,” said Bradford Smith, a senior from Goosport, Louisiana.
“Instead they could be using our tuition on other things like refurbishing our campus for recruits and alumni or upgrading our technology or library. At the end of the day we pay for an education not cheerleaders.” Smith also said that the cheerleaders have other options to raise money rather than taking a bigger slice of the school’s budget.
Cheer captain, Rica Charleston said that her feelings are hurt because she cares deeply about the cheer program. Being the second person in her family to be a part of the team, she knows back then the program was thriving with funds, but now, not so much.
“Honestly it really gets tiring because we do so much for the university and get no support from the student body or from the university,” said Charleston.
“We are everyone else’s cheerleaders, but we have none and that’s not fair because we do news performances, participate in nationals with Big Top 10 colleges to get Grambling’s name out there, but no one recognizes it.” Now that Charleston is graduating, she would at least like to see cheerleading coach Terry Lilly have financial assistance for our program.
“…if they decide that they want put their money in other places,” said Lilly, “that’s their choice … I would hope that people would understand the hard work and the time and the dedication that the kids put in and maybe in the future they’ll reconsider. It’s a lot of the stuff that they do that nobody sees that hopefully they’ll take note because we’re the GSU Tiger Pride Cheerleaders and we’re going to make it happen regardless.”
Despite the fact that the Cheerleading Team bill was the only bill not to be passed, the cheerleaders still will continue to enhance the school spirit.