By Edina A.T. Strum
Arizona Daily Wildcat April 4, 1997
ASUA's incoming leaders back IIFThe top three executives of next year's Associated Students government have sent a letter to the Arizona Board of Regents in support of the UA's Integrated Instructional Facility.
Gilbert Davidson, ASUA president-elect; Casey Cuny, ASUA executive vice president-elect and Tara Taylor, ASUA administrative vice president-elect, signed a letter supporting the University of Arizona project.
The regents moved closer to granting approval for the project March 20, and the regents may give final approval for the IIF at their meeting April 24 and 25.
The letter could swing the regent's approval for the project.
It states that while the student body considers renovations to the Memorial Student Union the most urgent building issue, "The IIF Building will also add to the university experience and will help students in their educational experience. We, the representatives of the student body, would like to express our support for both buildings."
The IIF is a proposed $20.25 million underground facility to be built between the Psychology building and the Main Library. It will be dedicated to enhancing the undergraduate experience, especially for first-year students, said Michael Gottfredson, vice president for undergraduate education, at the regents' March 20 meeting.
However, the support ASUA has now given to the IIF is not representative of the student body's opinion, according to an ASUA survey conducted last year.
The survey showed that 88 percent of more than 220 students surveyed did not support an increase in tuition to fund the IIF Building.
Davidson said no additional opinion polls have been taken by ASUA, but he would like to do a follow-up survey.
He added that the survey was taken before the university agreed to pursue Student Union renovations, which he thinks is the reason so many students opposed the project.
The regents are expected to approve project initiation on the Student Union at their April meeting.
However, most students interviewed by the Arizona Daily Wildcat said they do not support the IIF.
"I hate it. The dorms were enough of a transition for me," said Ron McCullough, a chemistry and biochemistry junior.
Several other students expressed concern over the cost of the project.
"It seems like a pretty expensive way to go," said Shannon Sheehan, a business graduate student.
Lesley Willox, an environmental sciences junior, said, "I think an underground building is a good idea, but it shouldn't be limited to freshmen. If we spend that much money it should be for everyone."
A handful of students did offer support for the IIF.
"It's a good idea. I myself would use it," Jeff Lemberger, a pre-med freshman, said.
Davidson said the primary reason for sending the letter to the regents was to make sure they did not stop the Student Union project because of concerns about the IIF.
"It's a matter of being unified as a university," he said.
Davidson said it was not inappropriate to send a letter before he takes office May 1 because ASUA's main concern was getting support for the Student Union, which has been done.