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Walk-ons OK with paying, and playing

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Andrew Faaumu understands the financial plight of a University of Hawaii-Manoa student.

Faaumu, a senior, is a Maui resident who cobbles money from his campus job, financial aid and family’s generosity to pay for tuition, housing, and school and living expenses.

Faaumu, like his fellow students, awaits a decision on whether a $50-per-semester activity fee will be imposed. The Board of Regents will discuss the matter at a meeting this morning in the Stan Sheriff Center.

The decision will have special meaning for Faaumu. He is a UH football player who is not on scholarship.

"That might be one of the many extra things we have to pay for in Hawaii," said Faaumu, who is competing for the starting job at left guard.

Implementing the fee, Faaumu said, would not "be a surprise to me."

The proposal has met opposition from the Associated Students of UH and the Graduate Students Organization. Both student government groups indicated they will stage protests today.

The fee will largely benefit the school’s athletic department. In exchange, students will receive free access to UH games, as well as other perks.

Caught in the middle are the walk-on players — nonscholarship student-athletes — who might benefit from a fee they would pay.

"To some people, (the amount) is substantial," said linebacker Parker Paredes, who transferred from Southern Oregon a year ago.

But Paredes, who works several side jobs to pay for school expenses, said he would not object to an activity fee.

"I’ll pay, man," Paredes said. "Either way, it’s coming back to the team. It’s a big circle."

Defensive end Kamalu Umu also said he would be agreeable to paying the fee, even though it would mean less spending money. Umu said his financial-aid packages cover tuition and school expenses.

Still, he noted, "All of that (extra) financial-aid money could be spending money."

Wideout Jett Jasper was unsuccessful in his run for the ASUH presidency in April. His platform favored implementing an activity fee.

"Me and my sister, Jori Jasper, a member of the (Rainbow Wahine) softball team are going to pay the fee," he said. "We feel honored and proud to support our athletic department by paying this fee.

"There’s no animosity. It’s going to help out not only the students by having universal access to a lot of the athletic events … it’s going to help school spirit. … Every student has a stake in how this university’s athletic teams do. The teams represent the school and the state."

Faaumu, who has a part-time job on campus, said he hopes the revenue earned from an activity fee will be used to improve conditions for the programs and facilities.

"Fifty bucks from every kid in the school is big," Faaumu said. "We’ve got to see something. That’s the way I feel. … It is a lot, but there are a lot of things we all have to pay for.

"I don’t really mind as long as I see some things getting done. If not, oh, well, what can you do?"


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