Fox Artfully Dodges Gliders, Football Team at Council Visit

This week’s A.S. Council meeting was dominated by a guest
appearance from Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, who addressed the council in a way
reminiscent of Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Penny Rue’s recent visit.

Fox presented an overview of the progress that’s been made
in improving the undergraduate experience — a laundry list that stretched from
more on-campus housing to late-night bus routes and extended library hours.
According to Fox, UCSD will have added more than 4,000 beds by 2011, growth
which she described as “the most aggressive in the nation.”

Fox explained her goal to eventually house 50 percent of the
student population on campus. In her view, the philosophy takes into account
the desires of community residents who both dislike the traffic congestion from
student commuters as well as the construction of new on-campus housing.

However, no discourse about student housing would be
complete without raising the contentious issue of the proposed North Campus
transfer housing and its impact on the nearby gliderport.

Associate Vice President of Local Affairs Aida Kuzucan,
who’s been working with the La Jolla Town Council to ameliorate UCSD’s strained
relationship with the community, commented on the transfer housing at the Oct.
10 A.S. Council meeting, saying “We should not, not, not, not let this happen …
We are not the only people living in La Jolla. We have to make compromises.”

Kuzucan raised the issue to Fox at last night’s meeting with
some delicate phrasing, describing the controversy as creating “discomfort” in
the La Jolla community. Fox brushed ambiguity
aside and said, “Are you talking about the gliderport people?”

“People in the La Jolla
community are getting behind them,” Kuzucan said. “[The] community feels like
they’re being invaded.”

Fox seemed less than inclined to make changes to the plan
because the future high-rise buildings will only impact fixed-wing gliders.

“I think we’ve done our best,” Fox said. “It’s a prudent use
of state lands to house students at reasonable prices.”

All Campus Senator Meghan Clair, citing growing support in a
Facebook.com group, asked Fox about the prospect of a UCSD football team.
According to Clair, former Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph W. Watson
estimated that it would cost $1 million to start a football team.

The ever-nimble Fox had some her own statistics waiting at
the wings, namely the $72-million and $100-million Division-I football programs
at Pennsylvania State University and Ohio State University, respectively.

“If you’re interested, keep the cards and letters coming,
but for now we don’t have the money,” Fox said.

She also lauded the performance of UCSD’s emergency
operations center during last week’s wildfires and emphasized the multiple
evacuation scenarios that the university was ready to execute.

“Or we could bring you all down to the beach,” she said. “It
probably would have been the world’s biggest beach party.”

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