The UC San Diego International Center, previously located at the end of Library Walk, was demolished over the summer and turned into a valet parking lot.
Students received a notice regarding the relocation of the International Center, which hosts hosts cultural events and supports international students as well as help students who plan to study abroad, in spring 2016. The programs and services that were housed in the original building are now spread across campus: the International Students and Programs Office was moved to Student Center B, the Study Abroad Office to Building 409, International Faculty and Scholars Office to McGill Hall, and Friends of the International Center to The Great Hall and several other locations across campus.
The decentralization of the International Center sparked some concern across campus, including an online petition created in summer 2016, calling for a new center that will contain all previous services and programs in one centralized location.
Pu Zhang, a third-year international student and former member of the Triton International Leaders Program, said that the relocation of international services and programs is unfair.
“The university is charging international students a lot for tuition every year, yet we don’t even have our own center centralized,” Zhang said. “If something happens, we need to go to different parts of campus to get things done.”
According to Zhang, the Triton International Leaders program had been gradually shrinking since her freshman year before ending in summer 2016 due to lack of funding.
“This is just one example of how [the International Center] got [its] budget cut so that the university can allocate more money to benefit the whole school,” Zhang said. “[I] don’t feel we are treated equally.”
Out-of-state and international students made up 25 percent of undergraduate students during the 2016-17 school year. While international students pay $27,000 more than in-state students, some California legislators argued that they fill spots that would otherwise go to California residents. As a result, a section in the Budget Act of 2016 was passed that withheld $18.5 million from the UC unless the system created a limit for the number of accepted nonresidents. The UC responded by capping international and out-of-state student admissions for this upcoming admission cycle based off the enrollment data for the 2017-18 school year.
Currently, the old International Center space is occupied by a new parking lot that has a total of 81 spaces: 58 faculty “A” spots, 16 staff “B” spots, 3 spots reserved for specific staff members, 4 accessible spots, and 1 motorcycle parking zone. The new parking location is meant to “provide convenient access to central campus areas including the School of Medicine, Chancellor’s Complex and Price Center,” the Transportation Services website reads. Valet service is available weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the last vehicle parked at 4:30 p.m. The valet service pilot program, which began in fall 2016, costs $5 for faculty or staff with a valid “A” or “B” permit and $20 for visitors.
Since the valet service pilot program has been successful, the Transportation Services may expand this service to other areas impacted by a lack of parking, according to Laura Margoni, interim UCSD Senior Director of Strategic Communications.
The International Center will eventually be relocated to the Triton Pavilion Project, a component of the university’s long-range development plan. The new structure, which is planned to be located in the center of campus near Rupertus Lane and Gilman Dr., will also contain career and alumni services and administrative offices. The construction is expected to be finished in 2021.
Cynthia Leung is a staff writer for The Triton.