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
• 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
• 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.
A $400 decrease when we’re still talking about more than $1,000 in increases for in-state students and a $2,000 increase for non-residents? The climb is still significant; it’s like trying to put out a raging house fire with a few cups of water.
Still, though, we’re bound to hear folks around campus showering Shelton with thanks and how he really might be finally watching UA students’ backs. If that were true, though, wouldn’t he take this piece of advice? (And let’s not forget how he laid the groundwork for this move with the ever-popular blame game.
Although I would love to believe that this and this led to Shelton’s new proposal, something smells fishy on the UA campus. Even if the president’s new proposal truly is a genuine response to the student stance against fees, it doesn’t fix the problem—it just gives it a band-aid, a small one at that, and one that cannot be sustained long-term.
The UA needs a plan, a good long-term plan. With none in sight aside from massive tuition increases and continued cuts associated with the UA Transformation over the next several years, the clock is ticking.