The Arizona International Campus finally opened today with an inaugural class of 45 students. Celestino Fern'ndez, the vice president and provost of AIC, has been fielding criticism about the campus ever since it was approved. The campus' location, low enrollment, and curriculum have all been attacked, but the staff seems optimistic about proving critics wrong. With a budget of $1.9 million for the 1996 fiscal year, 45 students will enjoy the new-car smell and excitement of a brand-new school. But are the campus' posh facilities in the UA Science and Technology Park just a thick layer of makeup hiding a flop waiting to happen? Or will the AIC grow into another University of Arizona? Only time and a critical eye will tell.
The university is still considering the core curriculum plan. The program's goal is to create a single general education base for all colleges, regardless of major. Will having general guidelines for students achieve that goal, or will the core turn students off because it forces certain subjects down their throats?
Construction of the Integrated Instructional Facility is slated to begin next summer. The 85,000-square-foot building will accommodate 4,500 freshman and will be the core curriculum teaching headquarters. The building will not be completed until March 1999. Debates are raging about whether the facility's construction warrants tearing up the mall for three years. Mall preachers will have to preach somewhere else, sunbathers will need hard-hats, and the campus' centerpiece will effectively be put out of commission. Is the building really worth it? Are there any alternative locations? Will student enrollment go down because the center of campus is a construction zone?
What about the Marshall Foundation's development plans for the area surrounding University Boulevard? National businesses will be moving into the area, but does bringing in large chains eliminate the cozy feel of mom-and-pop businesses that could fill the area instead? Several local shops have closed down there because of lack of business. Will this low-business trend continue? Has the university sold itself out to the Marshall Foundation?
These are only a few of the issues to be considered this year. We encourage you, the reader, to also ask pointed questions about issues that affect you as a member of this campus and nation. Share those questions and your own voices with us.