California State University trustees on Wednesday approved a financing plan for a $60 million Sonoma State student center.
The money would come from the sale of bonds that SSU students would help pay off with a new $300-a-year fee that would take effect next year.
SSU President Ruben Armiñana, following a series of focus groups held in October to gauge support for the center, asked the trustees to approve the bond sale.
In a contentious April election, students approved the project, long a goal of Armiñana's, by 59 to 41 percent.
Continuing opposition to the fee, questions about how the election was conducted and a suggestion of legal action to stop the project led Armiñana this summer to postpone both a scheduled October groundbreaking and withdraw his request for financing approval.
He then ordered what is known as an alternative consultation, a process that can be used to measure student opinion about new fees.
The focus groups were held as part of that process and produced results far more negative about the center than the election indicated. But only 28 SSU students — out of 1,000 who were invited — took part in those groups.
Also, discussions at the Associated Students organization, which includes the student government, and other student associations, elicited more positive sentiments about the center.
Armiñana decided to move ahead based on those results, as well as the April election outcome, he said.
A spokeswoman for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, a San Francisco nonprofit that opponents of the student center are working with, said she couldn't comment if the group would take legal steps to stop the project.
A student leader of the campaign against the fee said it might be time to move on.
“I think that we, at some point, have to realize we can keep fighting but we are not going to win,” said sophomore Anthony Gallino.