AIC may lose recognition from Senate after violation

By Charles Ratliff
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 13, 1996

A faculty committee is asking the Faculty Senate not to recognize Arizona International Campus of the UA or its new administration.

A resolution from the Committee of Eleven released yesterday states that the new campus' administration violated regents and university policies by offering its faculty multi-year contracts instead of tenure and establishing a curriculum without academic department approval.

When the Arizona Board of Regents voted last year to approve the new campus, the resolution states, it was made a "branch campus" of the university, not an independent institution.

As a branch campus, Arizona International's programs, curricula and faculty hiring practices are subject to approval by appropriate UA departments.

The resolution also states, "A tenure system similar to that in operation at the UA, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University shall be put into place according to the Constitution and By-Laws of the UA and Arizona Board of Regents policy."

What brought this to a head, said Kenneth J. Smith, an educational psychology professor who chairs the Committee of Eleven, is the tenure vs. contract issue.

"Although the faculty will not have tenure, the provost (Celestino Fernandez) will retain his," Smith said.

How can the institution become credible, Smith asked, when the chief academic officer keeps his tenure, yet contracted faculty cannot participate in the academic freedom tenure offers?

Fernandez said yesterday that the resolution is not based on fact.

He said the academic plan for Arizona International University was developed by a faculty committee which included representation from the Faculty Senate and the student body.

"We are following all board (of regents) policies," Fernandez said. "We have committees reviewing them. Those are the facts."

As to the tenure issue, Fernandez said he does not have tenure while he serves in his post as Arizona International's provost. That, he said, is a year-by-year appointment, the same as UA's president and provost.

John Schwarz, political science professor who is chair of the faculty and member of the Faculty Senate, said, "What faculty are concerned about is that there be a coherent way of developing programs, curriculum and hiring faculty that adhere to university standards while also recognizing the distinctive mission of the new campus."

If concerns raised in the resolution are addressed, Schwarz said, then hopefully a constructive relationship can develop between the UA faculty and Arizona International's administration.

Edward Williams, political science professor and chair of the Faculty Senate's oversight committee that is looking into Arizona International Campus, said the concerns are not "insurmountable."

He said he has been working with Fernandez on curriculum development and recruitment of faculty and that there has been more UA faculty input.

The Committee of Eleven resolution will be officially presented to the Faculty Senate March 4.

Williams said he expects a mixed response from the Faculty Senate.