Mini Time Tiff Could Mean Bearish Problems for Rue

In relationships, it’s the smaller interactions that best
signify the bigger picture. Expect a broken rapport, then, between new Vice
Chancellor of Student Affairs Penny Rue and A.S. councilmembers. The wildly
popular council-sponsored Bear Garden has undergone a series of time-swaps;
those changes, made at Rue’s behest, could sour students’ taste with an
administrator that said she is committed to personal interaction.

The implementation of Bear Gardens has been perhaps the A.S.
Council’s most notable achievement over the past year. Each time the council’s
programming department hosts the multi-quarterly event, it achieves the
intangibly dreamy goals laid out by the Undergraduate Student Experience and
Satisfaction Report: to build, strengthen and reinforce community ideals. Those
were parallel to Rue’s goals when she began her tenure earlier this year.

In an interview with the Guardian, Rue acknowledged UCSD’s
lack of cooperative spirit and the pains created by its decentralized
structure — then she said she could fix
it. Rue’s solution was to interact directly with students; to actively seek out
and hear the student voice; to minimize bureaucratic fluff. The efforts were
far from revolutionary, but admirable in scope.

The recent snag between councilmembers and Rue speak against
her early-year ambitions. Fearing that alcohol consumption would clash with the
university’s academic mission, Rue ordered this year’s first Bear Garden to be
moved to a later time.

The same rule-of-thumb, used against the Nov. 30 Bear
Garden, inflamed councilmembers, who said that wintertime brought darkness
earlier in the day. The extra costs to support the needed lighting for
nighttime, councilmembers said, would force them to cancel the event.

After a meeting with Rue, which produced no gainful results,
councilmembers lamented her attitude toward their coveted event. Then, after a
meeting with Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Life Gary R. Ratcliff, Rue
acquiesced to beginning the Nov. 30 Bear Garden at 2 p.m. It’s alarming that
the same arguments supporting the Bear Garden — its service to the U.S.E.S.
report and community-building principles — worked to two opposite ends.
Ratcliff should not be the deciding voice in an issue concerned mostly with
students, and Rue should respect A.S. councilmembers as the embodiment of
student interests.

Rue came into this year stressing principles of shared
governance and fully open communication. But she isolates councilmembers, and
will continue to do so when she invites bureaucracy to solve student problems.
It is exactly what UCSD had hoped not to see again in the leader of its largest
student-related sector.