Plans approved for East Commons renovations

by Staff

Approval of plans to renovate the East Commons facility and discussion on declaring impacted status due to over-enrollment at San Diego State University were the main focus of Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting.

After considerable discussion, a motion was passed that would allow renovation plans of East Commons to begin immediately following commencement in May 1997. Its budgetary impact will be explored by a Faculty Senate committee.

The East Commons eating facility needs to be renovated because it does not meet current life safety codes or seismic codes.

The Campus Development Committee chairman, Bob Mansfield, said East Commons was constructed at a time when this campus had only 10,000 students.

“We have been grossly under capacity for at least a decade,” said Mansfield in a report to the Faculty Senate. “With the anticipated growth in enrollment, we will be unable to meet even the basic food service requirements of this campus in the immediate future.”

Any delay in this project would mean the facility could not reopen until sometime during the spring term of 1998. According to Mansfield’s report, basic building systems will not last that long.

At least $400,000 would be needed to cover the expenses of keeping the building running on replacement fire alarms, electrical systems and other safety mechanisms that would be demolished when the project starts, Mansfield said.

Concerns were raised by several Senate members over starting a project like this during the centennial year, when several celebrations and festivities are planned.

Senate member Dave Dufault addressed those concerns, asking, “Do we want to postpone this project with the knowledge that this building isn’t safe?”

Other concerns centered on the temporary food trucks that would be stationed at various locations throughout the campus during the construction, which is expected to last until February 1998.

The litter problem these trucks could cause and seating issues were addressed.

The possibility of SDSU declaring impacted status because of over-enrollment was also debated. The Senate is expected to make a preliminary statement on this issue in today’s meeting at 2 p.m., and a final statement in February.

If SDSU declares impacted status, it will have more power to implement stricter selection criteria for incoming freshmen and transfer students.

What this criteria will be was also a matter of discussion. They could be based on residence (California residents receive admittance priority), discipline (whether a program or major is impacted), gender, ethnic background and class level (freshmen, sophomore, etc.).

The problem with declaring impaction is that a “stigma is often attached to schools with the label ‘impacted,'” said Faculty Senate President Gene Lamke. “We don’t want people in the community to become discouraged and not apply to (SDSU) because it’s an impacted university.”

The Faculty Senate also approved a new minor in statistics and a new emphasis in the economics major international economics.

Jim Mack, the California Faculty Association representative, introduced the idea of forming a committee to study campus climate. This study would include issues of discrimination, professional conduct and grievance issues that students, faculty, staff or administration may have.

Associated Students representative Carlos Razo heard criticism from Faculty Senate member James Wood on the Associated Students’ decision to reopen the issue of moving the memorial wall in Peiffer Lounge in order to construct a coffeeshop in the lounge. The Associated Students voted overwhelmingly in a prior meeting to leave the wall intact.

“The (decision to reopen the vote after it’s already been decided on) is highly undemocratical,” Wood said. “It’s like losing the Super Bowl, then deciding to play it again.”

Razo said the issue will be reopened because other options for the wall have been introduced.