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By David J. Cieslak
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 20, 1998

Late $15 fee for CatCard abolished

UA officials Friday abolished a $15 fee levied on students who neglected to obtain a new CatCard during last month's mass carding event and promised to reimburse students who have already been charged.

The announcement came at an Associated Students meeting after several people challenged CatCard Director Liz Taylor and Chief Budget Officer Dick Roberts, saying many students refused to participate in the carding event out of personal security concerns.

Taylor said the University of Arizona will extend its mass carding event until May 15. The estimated 3,000 students who still do not have the new ID can get one for free at the CatCard office in the Memorial Student Union.

Kirsten Tynan, a non-degree seeking graduate student, told Roberts, Taylor and ASUA Sens. Morgan Long and Mary Peterson that she did not take part in the carding event because of concerns about the security of her personal information. Tynan said she wanted a refund of the $15 she paid for getting the card after March 23.

"If I had $15 in my pocket right now, I'd give it to you," Roberts said.

After more discussion, Taylor and Roberts agreed to stop charging students for the card and reimburse everyone who paid the fee.

"We just set a policy here," Roberts said.

He also announced that officials have solved several other problems associated with the new card, including the addition of a distinction that identifies an individual as student, faculty or staff.

"We will do an overprint," Roberts said. "We had to solve the problem of overprinting and we solved it."

He also announced that anyone who wants to place a alternate nine-digit identification number in their CatCard records in place of a Social Security number for personal privacy may do so.

CatCard troubles began last month when UA students, faculty and staff learned their Social Security numbers were illegally released to MCI Telecommunications Corp. and Saguaro Credit Union. University officials retrieved the information, but some remain worried that their privacy was breached.

Roberts encouraged the anti-CatCard activists to "get by the mistake," but Tynan defended her strong stance.

"I want us to remember what has happened so it can be ingrained in policy," Tynan said. "We need to talk about policy solutions so that when new people are here, this won't happen again."

The original purpose of the meeting arranged by Peterson and Long was to revise a resolution tabled Wednesday night by the ASUA Senate. The document was written by Senator-elect Marisa Hall and economics freshman Travis Klein.

Several senators were concerned with language in the resolution, especially because of lines like, "This ASUA Senate issues this resolution in full denouncement of the precipitous institution of the CatCard."

After Friday's meeting, Long said she felt ASUA made progress by inviting UA officials to discuss the CatCard.

"The resolution will be adjusted," she said. "Mary (Peterson) and I will work on it."

Terrence Bressi, a Lunar and Planetary Lab engineer, said the university "sold out" by releasing personal information to the two companies.

"I think 'selling out' is a very strong term," Roberts said. "I can play this game with you and I can characterize things that you do as selling out."

And when Taylor said the UA used the $15 late fee as "a hammer to get people into the recreation center," Tynan became frustrated.

"I think it's a disturbing thought that we're hammering this down students' throats," Tynan said.

Despite the minor confrontations, Taylor said she felt the group made progress.

"I think we had a meeting of the minds," Taylor said after the meeting. "We will never all agree, but I think we made progress."

The Senate is expected to vote on a revised resolution Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Memorial Student Union Tucson Room.


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