The latest contested building project at Sonoma State University is being pushed by students, not administrators.
Student leaders are campaigning for a $65 million student center, asking their peers to vote to assess a $150 fee per semester to help pay for the building.
A three-day student vote is set to start April 11.
"It will be a place for students to congregate, to hang out, to dine," said Nicolas Carjuzaa, a student senator on the Associated Students Inc.
"What's in it is solidly in the interests of students, what students have complained about not having in the past," Carjuzaa said.
There is enthusiasm on campus for the idea.
"I really want it to pass to liven up the campus," said Oscar Salinas, a senior likely to graduate long before it opened.
But there also is resistance.
"It's just to look good," said Maggie Wiley, a sophomore. "We need more classes, they cut so many classes last year."
She added: "My parents can't afford it, we already struggle with loans."
Junior Cinthya Cisneros said she will vote no because she is due to graduate next year.
"I think it would be great, there would just be no use for me to pay for it if I'm not going to use it," she said. "It's not fair to students in my situation."
A contingent of faculty long critical of SSUPresident Ruben Armi?na, who they say has sacrified the school's academic mission to pay for expensive building projects like the yet-unfinished $130 million Green Music Center, have chimed in too.
"The resources that will be required by the student center are much greater than what will be produced by the student fees," said sociology professor Noel Byrne.
"Those (costs) really represent burdens that will be carried by other elements of the university for 30 years," he said.
The center has been part of SSU's master plan since the mid-1990's.
The proposal calls for state university bonds to be issued to cover the project's cost. Debt service on the bonds would be paid by the student fee and revenue from independent campus organizations, such as dining services and student productions, that rely on student and faculty purchases.
Association president Bridgette Dussan said the new student fee would cover 27 percent of the cost.
She said arguments that money should go toward academics overlook the fact that classroom costs and faculty salaries can only be funded by the state system.
"The two arguments are different," she said. "We don't want to pay more for less, we want to pay slightly more for much more in return."
If students approve the fee, construction could start this summer and the center could open in 2013, said Alex Boyar, the ASI executive vice president.
In 2000, students voted to assess themselves $80 a year to pay for a new recreation center.
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