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pacing the void

By Jennifer M. Fitzenberger
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 18, 1997

Students say no to tuition hike

Students and parents unanimously opposed UA President Manuel Pacheco's 5 percent tuition hike recommendation in favor of no increase last night at the Arizona Board of Regents' multi-site tuition hearing.

"We are not willing to accept a burden that is unnecessary," said Patrick Williams, a communication junior. "When you raise tuition, more hours are spent working and not on our education."

Williams was one of nine University of Arizona students and parents who told the board to adhere to the Arizona Constitution, which states that education should be "nearly free as possible."

"Each of the students here are different," he said. "Yet we all collectively address that tuition not be raised."

UA students testified in the Harvill Building via interactive television, which carried the hearing to the main campuses of the three state universities and four branch campus sites.

Pacheco, Regents President John Munger, Student Regent Jonathan Schmitt and Associated Students President Rhonda Wilson listened quietly in the front of the room while audience members voiced their opinions.

"The cost of tuition would alter such that a student who works 52 weeks a year at minimum wage could not meet the cost of tuition," said Brook Rosenbaum, a junior majoring in political science and French. "I beg you to recognize the partnership that exists between the students and the board by not raising tuition."

Addressing the crowd of about 75, Pacheco said he is requesting a raise in tuition in order to meet fiscal responsibilities.

"The outcome in appropriation (by the Legislature) is better than in the past, but it is still not enough," he said.

Pacheco said he recommended the increase because the UA was not given all of the money it requested from the Legislature.

"I recommend the 5 percent increase for 1997-98 in full recognition that we were not fully funded," he said. "A lower rate would be inappropriate and would not meet the needs of the university."

This year the three state universities received $681.6 million from the Legislature, which was a budget increase of about $47 million.

Last year the universities received a $24.6 million increase.

Pacheco, who said it would take a 7.6 percent increase to meet the goals of the university, also said a recent enrollment drop was a reason for the proposed increase.

The presidents of both Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University requested a 3 percent increase for their campuses.

"I do not understand why we need an increase," said Lucy Vitale, a UA Parents Association member. "How can you ask for more from students and their families?"

Pacheco said he was not surprised that students and their parents did not support his proposal.

"If I were a student, I would be asking for no tuition raise too," he said. "But just as students have to balance a budget, so does the university."

Although UA students opposed the university's proposal on tuition, they spoke in support of the recommended 3.5 percent residence hall rate increase.

"Because I've seen that RHA (Residence Hall Association) has financial needs, I support the proposed 3.5 increase," said Rachel Reinhardt, a computer engineering sophomore and member of RHA. "The money is not much for what the residence hall system on this campus provides."

Scott Cole, an interdisciplinary senior and RHA member, agreed with Reinhardt.

"I am a student, however, I am also a life-time resident and tax payer," he said. "The universities do indeed belong to the people of Arizona and not to the students."

Munger said the board will take student requests seriously.

"We're like you - we have gone to universities and have children," he said. "These hearings always put increasing tuition in a better perspective for me."

Munger said both tuition and residence hall rates for the 1997-98 school year will be finalized at the board's next meeting, April 24-25 at ASU-East.

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