Editorial: RIMAC Annex Provides Valuable Lesson for Khanna

    Partnered with this week’s heated vote over campus athletics is another, less conflicting choice for college students: Should the new RIMAC Annex include alcohol service or not? The surveys accompanying each referendum vote field more than just beer and wine interest — commuter lockers, computer workstations and table tennis are also possibilities — and they could mark a watershed shift in the campus’s power spectrum. At first, A.S. President Harry Khanna’s crusade to wrest control over the annex seemed fruitless, with Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph W. Watson still retaining all control over the choice of the facilities’ services, including alcohol availability.

    Khanna’s reasoning was that student fees paid for the $10-million building, so students should pick what goes in it. The effort to establish that authority, which drew support from the campus’ sports facility director, was stunted short of its goal to fully institute student decisions about student issues. Historically, and sadly, the campus has yielded most of those decisions to administrators such as Watson. A lesson has been learned: Khanna is now smartly moving to alter the charters of facility boards governing multimillion-dollar construction projects such as the Student Center Expansion; his adjustments on those boards will win a rare institutional victory for students. Though the jockeying over facility rule often ends in tired political squabbling, Khanna is setting a firm foundation for students in a UCSD without Watson, a decades-long campus mainstay who will retire in June.

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