Linkday after hiatus

By Shain Bergan

Don’t worry. We’re not dead just yet; we just went on hiatus for a week and a half. Some things did catch our eye, though…Linkday!!!

  • A great look at the state budget crisis (The Campus Correspondent)
  • All three Arizona public universities are being forced into a paycut (Sally Gradstudent)
  • Oh, you may have heard—Arizona finally passed a budget for both 2010 and FY 2011 (The Arizon State Legislature)
  • If someone were so inclined and had the time, they could develop a very serious analysis of the UA’s problems based on this video—otherwise known as a six-minute “Wow” moment (The Office of the President of the University of Arizona)
  • You’ve heard the WatchCat advocate a “yes” vote in the one-cent sales tax increase that will go to the voters in May, but what does Shelton have to say about it? (The Campus Correspondent)
  • We’re all about Meredith Hay news (The Desert Lamp)

WatchCat creator earns major journalism honor; Daily Wildcat gets 8 SPJ awards

"This just in: This is awesome!"

By Shain Bergan

While it has not yet been officially announced online (like, at a place I can link to for you), Arizona Daily Wildcat Editor-in-Chief Lance Madden has confirmed that WatchCat News-Journal Editor Shain Bergan (yours truly) will be taking home a major 2009 Society of Professional Journalists award at the organization’s convention in San Francisco on May 2. The award is in the category of Breaking News Reporting for a 4-year College or University.

The story being recognized focuses on the first day of the infamous Daily Wildcat newspaper theft, which can be seen here. I wrote the story and compiled the bulk of the news gathering and reporting, with then-News Editor Tim McDonnell and a few reporters contributing some of the quotes and additional information. Then-Editor-in-Chief Alex Dalenberg edited the piece and re-organized some key parts—hence the quintuple attribution at the end of the story. I will be in San Francisco to officially accept the award on May 2.

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Hay memo reaction: Are UA Transformation savings actually a lot lower than advertised?

"Guys, I've got this great idea..."

By Shain Bergan

Fresh news as of about an hour ago. There’s a lot to go through and very few links. Bear with me.

University of Arizona Provost Meredith Hay just released a campus wide email memo (that can be seen in whole at the bottom of this post) stressing the importance of the continuing of the UA Transformation Process, especially in the difficult financial times the city, state and country find themselves in.

The memo itself is nothing really earthshattering—pretty much just a status update on the Transformation as a whole in order to keep up appearances (after all, UA President Robert Shelton loves to bring up such things in leadership meetings and town halls to show that the UA upper administration is keeping up communications with the campus).

But there are a few lines here and there that just don’t seem to fit. They seem to be separate from the setting and attitude portrayed by what is said, rather perhaps focusing on how it’s said. Not only that; the tone of the memo seems to be rather defensive, almost as if the memo’s existence itself is an administrative reaction to the campus’ tension against department/school consolidations, differential fees and rising tuition. What does it mean? Maybe nothing. What might it mean?

The UA administration is really feeling the heat (yes, from people like this, but also from Average Joe students and staff who have to read about this stuff all the time and have likely formed an unfavorable opinion of the administration’s handling of the Transformation Process) from those criticizing the Transformation, and they finally feel obligated to respond to it, after ignoring it with a “father knows best” attitude for so long.

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Breaking news: Shelton lowers tuition proposal by $400; Students: ‘Yeah, got a few more thousand of those?’

Strangely enough, Shelton's newest tuition proposal came in the form of this gift (shown above) given to UA students.

By Shain Bergan

Some fresh news, as of just a few hours ago, courtesy of the Campus Correspondent:

Apparently University of Arizona President Robert Shelton has had a last minute change of heart from his original tuition proposal. Less than 24 hours before the next Arizona Board of Regents meeting, where tuition will be set, Shelton sent a memo to student government leaders and deans outlining his new plan, released at the 11th hour:

“Thus, I am amending UA’s tuition and mandatory fee recommendations for FY 2011, as

follows, to implement a scaled and moderated approach to moving UA’s tuition to the median of

our peers.

• Reducing the originally proposed $1,450 increase for resident undergraduate tuition at

UA main campus by $400 to $1,050;

• Reducing the originally proposed $1,450 increase for resident graduate tuition (UA Main

and UA South) by $400 to $1,050;

• Maintaining the $500 increase in resident undergraduate tuition at UA South as originally

proposed;

• Keeping the $2,000 increase in nonresident undergraduate and graduate tuition (UA

main campus and UA South) as originally proposed.”

It might be easy to applaud Shelton at this time, but something’s telling me the president may have had this move planned all along in order to gain favor with a campus that is becoming more and more disenfranchised with its leadership.

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ASUA Supreme Court rules against Senate candidate represented by Desert Lamp creator

Two members of the ASUA Supreme Court hold for a photo op shortly after Monday's decision.

This is a guest report, written and submitted by Brian Mori. Mori is a regular contributor to our sister site, The Desert Lamp. Through the Lamp and his time at the Arizona Daily Wildcat, Mori has covered stories ranging from undergraduate and graduate student government to administrative and city matters.

By Brian Mori

After convening for the first time in more than two years, the ASUA Supreme Court ruled 3-1 Monday night that sanctions against a University of Arizona student government Senate candidate will stand.

Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate Candidate Jarett Benkendorfer filed suit against ASUA Election Commissioner Justine Piscitello after he was cited for two separate violations of the ASUA Elections Code.

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ABOR Preview, part 1: Who will stick up for students in the tuition battle?

By Shain Bergan

As the week before Spring Break commences, the three academic issues on everyone’s mind are tuition, fees and tuition. As it so happens, base tuition and mandatory fees for Arizona’s public universities will be decided this week when the Arizona Board of Regents comes to the University of Arizona.

Always looking out for the students, the Board chose in late 2008 to put together a group—known as the Tuition and Affordability Work Group—to “examine tuition policies and affordability issues”. Well, it’s time for that group to put up or shut up. The entire Arizona university system is now—as in, like, right now!—looking to the group for leadership and guidance over whether or not to endorse a plan that would raise tuition about $2,000, which I’m sure will have some weight with the Regents’ decision.

I think we all know what the student preference would be (You know, keeping university enrollment affordable and all that jazz.), so I’m sure such a group would keep their interests in mind, right? After all, here’s a description of the people in the Tuition and Affordability Work Group:

“The work group included senior university staff, student leaders, and Board staff.”

Very well. Let’s go through these, shall we?

Senior university staff – I’m assuming this means university staffers in lofty positions. The only people this could include, though, would be university upper administration types and those who have been elevated by their peers (a.k.a. Faculty Senate Members). Considering the upper administrative and faculty leadership situations look something like this, this and this, I wouldn’t be holding out too much which stance they chose to go with while in the Tuition and Affordability Work Group.

Student leaders – Ah, surely if high-salaried folks in the Admin Building and at Faculty Senate meetings are unwilling to stand up for lower tuition and better higher education affordability (Don’t even throw that weak crap about financial aid picking up the affordability slack, because I will bring this up.), students’ own peers will do so, right?

Read this and this, then cringe.

Strike two.

So what’ll it be, Arizona Board of Regents? I think we all know the answer, but we’ll still be there on Thursday.

Strike three.

The UA’s tuition hearing: A guest report

The world's oldest game has become a favorite among university leaders at the UA.

The following is a guest report written by Will Ferguson at Monday’s tuition hearing at the Harvill Building. Ferguson is currently an intern at the Tucson Weekly and is the former Arizona Daily Wildcat assistant news editor and administration beat writer.

Also, check out The Mad Fee Party’s official statement here, at the Desert Lamp.

By Will Ferguson

To call Monday night’s Arizona Board of Regents tuition hearing a packed house would be a serious understatement.

The small conference room in Harvill—where UA president Robert Shelton, Regent Rick Meyers (sitting in for the absent Regent Dennis DeConcini), student representatives and registered speakers addressed a row of video monitors—quickly filled up past capacity.

Forty-one registered speakers waited their turn to speak.  Many of them had to suffice with a letter to the Regents due to time constraints on the hearing.

Two additional rooms were opened in order to accommodate the multitude of students, faculty and community members who wanted to hear first-hand the reasoning behind a proposed tuition increase—a process that University of Arizona President Shelton said “has been transparent throughout the discussion.

  • Just another chance to blame the legislature for all the UA’s problems

“We had planned for and accepted a $40 million reduction in state funds,” Shelton said. “In reality, the UA has sustained a 100 million dollar cut, a 25 percent reduction—more than double what we had anticipated.

“We cannot further diminish the quality of the UA.”

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