Students: Create meal point exchange

    The El Mercado eatery recently opened on Muir’s campus, in the home of the former late-night Rathskaller. Although the newly established eatery has regrettably decided not to use the artery-clogging fryer that used to reside there, it produces fresh and appetizing Mexican food nonetheless. This columnist’s informal survey of the menu finds that while the prices are a tad higher than what should be expected (though this is hardly a surprise for a housing and dining services enterprise), the vegetables are consistently crisp and juicy, the seating is plentiful and open, and there are couches to lounge on while digesting and waiting for one’s next class. It is certainly more relaxing than the zoo that the Price Center has become (regardless of what one may think about relentless fee referendum pushes, the Price Center has undeniably become a fire hazard due to the sheer number of people stuffed into so small a space come lunchtime).

    However, the somewhat high prices (about a dollar too expensive) inspired another thought: Why would freshmen buy overpriced lava lamps at Earl’s Place if they could instead get cash from upperclassmen willing to buy meal points at discount rates? It could be some sort of commodities market — say, it would be possible to sell 10 meal points for seven or eight real dollars. This would not only correct the price gap for off-campus students, but would be more productive than lava lamp purchases for freshmen. Some may argue, though, that the meal points were bought by the parents of freshmen who want to regulate their spending habits to ensure that they actually would eat meals — but it seems that if the freshmen cannot be trusted not to blow their meal points on lava lamps anyways, then they perhaps should not be trusted with college life (or being a functioning adult) in the first place. Too bad then, that the meal point exchange market will never come to pass.

    An e-mail sent to the UCSD community by Dr. Watson’s office of Student Affairs on Oct. 14 invited students, staff and faculty to look over proposed changes to Policy and Procedures Manual, section 510. The changes are notable in that they seem to be a concrete expression of Dr. Watson’s rumored long-standing opposition to alcohol at large student events. The reworded stipulations clearly make it more difficult not only to hold on-campus events, but most notably, explicitly rewords statements regarding regulations about alcohol companies sponsoring student events. The revisions seem dedicated to making it nearly impossible for such companies to in any way fund student concerts.

    For good measure, the proposed changes increase the amount of lead time before an event from three weeks to four, and delegate authority for making exceptions to the rule higher up the ladder of university administration, if only to make the procurement of the devil’s drink by UCSD minors all that more difficult. However, the regulations now explicitly state that “”University sponsors must be clearly identified as the primary sponsor of the event. Manufacturers and/or distributors of alcoholic beverages may not be primary sponsors of campus events.””

    As some students involved in programming events for UCSD will tell you, the reason a campus the size of UCSD does not get notable acts is solely because of this rather draconian clause in its alcohol policy that prevents alcohol manufacturers from blatantly sponsoring events. Apparently, it seems a combination of Dr. Watson’s rumored disapproval of “”beer gardens”” and university policy against explicit sponsoring serve to dissuade alcohol manufacturers from sponsoring good concert acts on UCSD’s campus — some of which would not be even remotely obtainable, regardless of money, without the company’s help — because they can get more visibility for their dollar elsewhere. While this columnist is no partisan for Bacchus (literally, not figuratively) revelry on Library Walk, a healthy, active campus with popular musical acts and a tinge of a lack of sobriety is no doubt a good thing for the character of the university and the sanity of the student population. Also, this would save on student fees (or at least provide more bang for the dollar), which Dr. Watson has been intent on raising for the past three years.

    But then again, students apparently cannot be trusted with alcohol — especially when there’s an omnipresence of heavy security and immediate consequences to foolish actions. How unfortunate that the immediate consequences of foolish actions don’t apply to those who would oppose liberalizing UCSD’s alcohol policy for either fears of liability or protestations of morality.

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