By Wildcats Opinions Board
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday Feb. 8, 2002
On Feb. 1, UA President Peter Likins said 128 courses and 128 jobs will be cut from the university budget.
Monday, Likins said those numbers were incorrect. Now only 115 courses are being cancelled and 69 jobs cut.
What gives, Pete?
OK - maybe somewhere in all that number crunching, the numbers were mangled. It's possible. But why was a number even released if the figures weren't set in stone in the first place? The University of Arizona administration seems to be spinning tales behind closed doors, and UA students are the ones paying the price.
It's slightly hard to swallow the idea that the Arizona Board of Regents and UA officials released figures on the effect of state-mandated budget cuts without double checking to make sure the numbers were right. Actually, retracting the original figures seems like more of a paparazzi ploy than it does legitimate politics.
Administration releases figures, then it retracts figures, then it claims it doesn't know specifically which classes it will cut or exactly which employees won't be rehired. Ed Frisch, assistant vice president for research planning and management, said Wednesday that statistics on classes and job cuts are not final yet and that the statistics are expected to change anyway.
Well, guess what? These budget cut matters have been in the "pending" file just a little too long. Students are starting to worry about being able to get the classes they need and departments are going to be finding themselves short-handed in the face of adjunct faculty cuts, yet administrative officials can't seem to find any official numbers to release to the public.
Stating that the courses to be cut are not graduation requirements is not going to hack it. Students want a college-by-college breakdown of exactly which courses will be cut and when. A university is driven by the idea that students can have a breadth of diverse classes from which to choose. Electives are available to us as a breath of fresh air, a means by which to broaden our horizons. However unnecessary these classes may seem in the university purse, they are necessary to the students.
And what about job cuts? It is more than slightly mysterious that of the 142 eliminated jobs, a good chunk were vacant positions. So is the university paying for ghost teachers? Why do these positions even exist in the first place?
There is a trend throughout this argument - unanswered questions. UA administrators need to get on the ball with specific facts about the budget cut situation currently at hand. At this point in the game, indefinite answers about course and job cuts aren't good enough.
Weigh the options, crunch the numbers and give it to us straight. The UA community is tired of this hollow rhetoric. A frightening answer about the future of UA students and faculty is better than no answer at all.