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'Elite 50' process unfair

By Leigh Anne Gallagher
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 29, 1999

To the editor,

When I entered the University of Arizona, I declared my major, M.I.S., and was given a list of major field requirements that clearly defined what would be required of me for the University to confer upon me the degree I sought. Under the guidance of the B.S.P.A. advisors, I subsequently invested my time and money in several semesters' studies, following the degree plan as published by the University. I maintained a good GPA and, having satisfied all published lower division requirements, applied for advanced standing.

Tuesday evening, September 21, the advanced standing orientation for M.I.S. gathered 150-200 students who, like me, were applying for advanced standing. A document entitled 'MIS Undergraduate Major Application Process' was distributed that explained that the M.I.S. department has been unable to maintain a sufficient staff, presumably because the private sector pays several times more than the University, and only 50 students would be admitted into the M.I.S. program. To select the elite 50, the M.I.S. department is requiring that everyone petitioning for admittance into the program write a "What I Want To Be When I Grow Up" essay. The successful essayists will be allowed to continue their studies. The not so elite will be in limbo for a semester, but will be allowed to petition for entrance into the program one more time the following semester. If they are again not part of the chosen, their M.I.S. studies at the University are over.

I understand and appreciate that the University and the M.I.S. department have a problem maintaining a competent and ample staff, presumably because of noncompetitive salaries. However, I believe this is the institution's problem and not the student's, and that the M.I.S. department's proposed "elite 50" solution is unfair and unacceptable.

I have paid the University my tuition, invested my time in these studies, and jumped through all of the objective hoops required for my degree plan. I have fulfilled my end of the contractual bargain. In my opinion, it would be a breach of contract on the University's part to deny me or anyone else in my position, admission into the M.I.S. program. Whatever the University has to do to provide the services it publicly advertises, is the business of the University.

This "elite 50" solution by which the M.I.S. department intends to breach its obligations with all but 50 students is preposterous. The University cannot seriously expect that students who have invested thousands of dollars and two years of their lives are going to tolerate suddenly having their futures determined by the subjective review of one silly essay.

I have already contacted the University's legal counsel to discuss my concerns on this subject. I encourage all other prospective M.I.S. students to express their views on this matter and to contact me if they are so inclined.

Leigh Anne Gallagher

MIS junior

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