Sunday, March 26, 2017

Advisory committee selects architects

The University Centers Expansion and Renovation Building Advisory Committee selected two architectural firms over the summer, one for the expansion of Price Center and another for the Phase II expansion of Student Center. With these firms selected, the committee is heading into the programming phase where committee members gather ideas and then present them to the designers. In turn, the designers will take the ideas and concepts to create a drawn-out plan.

""Things are going smoothly,"" BAC A.S. representative Max Harrington said. ""We've been moving speedily and on schedule.""

The BAC received over 30 proposals from renowned architectural firms before making its choice. A selection committee narrowed the number to a pool of five. The selected five then gave a presentation to the committee about their ideas for the project. In the end, the selection committee chose Cannon Design for Price Center's expansion and Public, a local firm in San Diego that had already designed Phase I of Student Center expansion project, to complete Phase II.

In continuing the planning and design phase for the expansions of Price Center and Student Center, the BAC must deal with issues of space allocation, designing a financial model and deciding on some conceptual designs. The committee met throughout the summer after the selection process to discuss ideas on certain aspects of the project.

""We're continuing on working with program and design, determining what goes where ‹ in terms of food service, retail, conference room ‹ and what would be in Price Center versus what would be in Student Center,"" BAC co-Chair Carmen Vasquez said.

The referendum, which called for a $39-per-quarter student fee in addition to existing fees for the renovation and expansion of Price Center and Student Center, was passed last spring. Items recommended in the referendum include allocation of offices to student organizations, new study lounges and new food retail services.

For Price Center, one of the issues that the BAC has to deal with is whether the building design should be ""introverted"" with a courtyard in the middle, ""extroverted,"" or a mixture of both. Committee members have been working with the architects to create more concrete plans on how to include items from the referendum.

""Over the course of July and August, we've been meeting with the architects and starting to articulate our ideas to them,"" BAC University Centers Advisory Board representative Jeremy Cogan said.

Work on the Student Center is also in progress. On Oct. 3, Public gave a presentation to the BAC showing different design schemes. The schemes provided the committee with an idea of how items from last year's referendum can be put into an actual plan.

One scheme is to simply reconstruct the groundwork of the existing Student Center. A second concept would be to reconfigure some of the buildings and have a more open courtyard. A third option would include similar concepts from scheme two, but with some student organization offices moving to the Price Center.

The BAC has not yet committed to any of the plans.

The BAC is comprised of student and faculty representatives, as well as representatives from facilities such as the Cross-Cultural Center and UCSD Bookstore. According to Harrington, though two-thirds voting power of the committee is held by students, the summer meeting sessions made it difficult for many students to participate. However, workshops and meetings will be held throughout the year where all members of the committee can attend.

""In the beginning of summer, there were not too many students and more staff and faculty, which is not how it should be,"" Harrington said. ""Hopefully we will get the point across that we need students to vote.""

The BAC is also planning to provide an informational meeting to discuss ideas and get feedback from the constituencies of Student Center.

""I think it's really important to get a sense of how exciting the process is,"" Vasquez said. ""We're working hard to do the best we can to provide the campus with these two facilities.""

New Law Protects Calif. Student-Athletes

State legislators have approved a bill (Senate Bill 1525) that requires certain California universities to continue distributing scholarship funds to athletes who have sustained career-ending injuries.

Album Reviews

The illustration of a naked female body, crucified and spurting blood on the cover of Coral Fang, clues the listener that it's going to be a bumpy ride. Luckily, Brody Dalle (recently divorced from Rancid/Transplants frontman Tim Armstrong) and her band the Distillers have a knack for combining their pain with energy, attitude and thoughtful compositions.

Opener ""Drain the Blood"" is only half as menacing as it sounds, with just enough bite to temper its modern-rock arrangement. The next few tracks don't really add anything, weighted down by slick production, but things pick up halfway through. One of the best things about Coral Fang is that it doesn't ease up with a slow ballad (no offense to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, ""Maps"" is the best song on their album). ""The Hunger"" begins sounding like soft Nirvana with throaty vocals and slowly strummed acoustic guitars before breaking into a loud Cobain-like chorus with Dalle's dead-ringer for Courtney Love voice's screaming ""Don't go!"" over a lightning-powered three-chord riff.

The Distillers sound determined to break out of modern punk conventions, even if repetitive beats and guitar sounds can bog down the album on a single listen. They stretch out on the album's closer ""Death Sex,"" as the band breaks into an aggressive 12-minute noise jam sounding like Sonic Youth with a punk-rock beat.

Briefs

News bites from around campus, San Diego and beyond.

Students protest at Regents meeting

Twenty UCSD students joined about 200 to 300 students from all University of California campuses to protest at the UC Board of Regents meeting on Nov. 19 at UCLA.

Among the issues that protesters raised included fee increases, enrollment caps and accessibility of the board members to students. Protesters also voiced support for comprehensive review, an admissions policy used by the University of California that aims to look at factors other than grades and test scores. Comprehensive review has recently been scrutinized following a report by Board of Regents Chair John Moores examining admissions at UC Berkeley.

Students gathered from approximately 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the meeting's first session and made their complaints known outside the Covel Commons throughout the duration of the meeting. According to UCSD students who participated in the protest, by the time of their arrival, there was no available seating during the public input portion of the open session, so the students had to resort to making their demands outside of the building.

""I think the major point that I got out of it was that it was really hypocritical of the Regents because they're supposed to be working for us, but we had to be the ones to go there,"" said Caroline Song, campus organizing director for the A.S. External Affairs Office. ""We needed to be there to realize that our voices aren't really being considered and that we're just being told what's going on.""

A.S. Vice President of External Relations Harish Nandagopal, who participated in the protest, said students protested the lack of input at Regents meetings.

""Most of the Regents meetings have been in Northern California and [have often been at] UC San Francisco, where it's mostly graduate students,"" Nandagopal said. ""They segregate themselves from the undergraduate population.""

UC president Robert C. Dynes addressed the students outside regarding comprehensive review. According to Nandagopal, Dynes also promised to meet with a student delegation sometime in February to further discuss issues pertaining to students.

""They made a promise to us that they won't dismantle comprehensive review and that President Dynes will meet with us early next year,"" Nandagopal said. ""We got two victories today, and we're hoping that the next Regents meeting will be held on an undergraduate campus in order for us to be able to give more input.""

Other board members also came out to speak to the students, including Moores and Dolores Huerta. According to Song, Huerta encouraged the student protesters to continue to take their issues not only to the Regents but also to Sacramento.

""Huerta told us that she appreciated us for being there, that she would work for us, and she spoke about the need to emphasize education,"" Song said. ""It was very inspirational for her to come out and to say that she's with us.""

The Nov. 20 meeting will include reports and discussion from the Committee on Oversight of the Department of Energy Laboratories, the Committee on Education Policy and the Committee on Health Services.

Briefs

News bites from around campus, San Diego and beyond.

Runoff elections would validate A.S. agenda

Last winter, A.S. Council formed the Ad Hoc Task Force on Voting Systems to explore and propose a plan to improve UCSD¹s electoral process, which was a straightforward vote on StudentLink. The task force met diligently and specifically to address instant runoff elections, a system that supporters claim ensures a true majority rule

In instant runoff elections at UCSD, students would rank all candidates in order of preference. If one candidate received majority, that candidate automatically wins. If no one captures the majority, the lowest-ranked candidate would be eliminated and the votes of those who voted for that candidate count for their next-ranked candidate. The process is repeated until one candidate earns over 50 percent of the popular vote.

There are several paths to take for instant runoff elections, and changing StudentLink to accommodate this method is the most sensible choice.

An online instant runoff system is not only more convenient but less costly than the paper ballots method, in which printing and labor costs start to pile up. What seems like a confusing procees and complex change is simple alteration on StudentLink¹s webstie. A.S can either buy such source code or enlist the help of a computer science major on campus.

Since A.S. took the progressive step of forming the task force, discussions have not yeilded much action. With elections just down the road and time ticking down to take action, A.S. needs to step up and aggresively work with StudentLink to make instant runoff elections a top priority.

If A.S. slacks in taking action to change the current electoral system to instant runnoff votng, their actions in the task force have been wasted. It is time to take the next progressive step.

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MTS Introduces Shuttle Pilot Program

Beginning March 28, Superloop Routes 201 and 202 will service existing stops along Gilman Drive.

Album Reviews

There's no getting around it: Mates of State are a husband and wife duo who sing together, very cutely, in harmony. They're much less White Stripes than a younger, handsomer version of Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer's ""Saturday Night Live"" singing couple. But the music itself is usually enjoyable and occasionally impressive. Team Boo continues the Mates' formula of love songs with little else than keyboards, drums and intertwined vocals.

It takes a few listens to get into the album, especially for those who might be turned off by the preciousness of the trÈs emo voices of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel. Songs like the playful opener ""Ha Ha,"" which begins with baroque-style piano and changes tempo more than once, soon reveal themselves as great little pop songs. Gardner's keys (usually organ) and Hammel's drums fill up the space of the songs just enough to allow the vocal interplay to take center stage.

Surprisingly, the slower songs don't work as well, save for some pretty melodies in ""Open Book."" For the most part, the songs are more infectious when they stay unpredictable, changing up rhythms and harmonies, but keeping everything grounded in assured hooks and heartfelt delivery. You might think it's too cute at times, but you're probably just jealous.

Mates of State play the Casbah on Feb. 10.

Lights and Sirens

Campus police reports from May 3 to May 8.

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