Koala ousted by admin

University Centers personnel have evicted the Koala newspaper from its Student Center offices after a search of the staff’s workplace allegedly yielded alcohol and drug paraphernalia.

The student publication, historically at odds with the administration because of its derogatory and racist content, will be forced to leave its media lounge location on Oct. 25 for violations of the space allocation agreement that provided its office, interim University Centers Director Paul Terzino said.

In June, a university staff member in the media lounge noticed a marijuana bong inside the Koala office, reportedly in plain sight through an open door. She then noticed an open cabinet in which liquor bottles were stored, and notified the UCSD Police Department, Terzino said. When police tested the bong, it was positive for marijuana residue, he added.

However, Koala Editor in Chief David Gregory disputes the validity of the search and the ultimate result.

“[Administrators] claim that the bong had resin that tested positive for marijuana,” Gregory stated in an e-mail. “They haven’t shown us copies of these tests because they don’t really exist. The Koala would never leave unsmoked resin in a bong.”

According to the University Centers Web site, any discovery of alcohol or illegal drugs automatically results in an organization losing its space assignment.

“It was a clear violation of the space allocation guidelines,” Terzino said.

Gregory said he believes that while the search may have been random, the manner in which the eviction was handled shows the university’s bias against the paper.

“Removing us from our office is disproportionately severe and counter to UCSD precedent,” he stated. “There [have been] countless cases of alcohol and pot violations in the University Centers.”

This decision is not the first instance of the Koala butting heads with university administration — members of the paper were brought to UCSD’s Judicial Board in 2002 for allegedly keeping alcohol in their offices, according to their Web site.

According to Gregory, police filed no charges against any staff member for marijuana possession.

“There [has] been no legal action because these allegations would wither away in the real world,” he stated.

Terzino said that he was unsure of who will be filling the Koala’s space in the media lounge, but that the University Centers Advisory Board is currently discussing the issue.

While the Koala members will no longer have their office, they will still be allowed access to the media lounge, Gregory said.