SSU president delays request for student center

Sonoma State University President Ruben Armi?na has withdrawn for now his request for a $65 million student center.

Armi?na, who two weeks ago was emphatic that a groundbreaking for the center would take place Oct. 10, said he wants to consult further with students about the center.

"I thought it was appropriate to take the further step," he said in an email Friday. He had asked on Thursday that the financing request be removed from the agenda of the California State University Board of Trustees, who would have needed to approve it.

The move pleased and also surprised project critics who have fought to stop it and threatened legal action.

"I'm really glad that they are delaying this so we can investigate," said art history professor Susan Moulton, former faculty senate chairwoman.

Opponents of the project say it is too costly and burdens students financially. They also say that the SSU administration improperly influenced the April election in which students approved a new $300-a-year fee to pay for it.

Armi?na acknowledged that his decision took into account objections by attorneys with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, who said they might have sought an injunction to stop the project.

"The threat of legal action, real or not, always influences a review of the matter," he said.

A group of students and faculty had asked the Lawyers Committee to investigate their complaints that the election was flawed.

On Friday, some of those critics suggested that Armi?na's unexpected move suggested he is encountering resistance from CSU trustees.

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