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Editorial: Minority engineers deserve fair break from UA

Arizona Daily Wildcat,
October 27, 1999
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Then a student organization senses that it may get the shaft by university officials, it is only fair that it defend itself.

Such was the reasoning of the students from the Multicultural Engineering Program who confronted the dean of the College of Engineering and Mines about possible renovations that may shrink the already tiny space available to the MEP.

In a 30-minute forum, members of the MEP voiced their concerns to the deans of the engineering college over discussions about building renovations that, if put into effect, may lead to their program having even less space within the engineering building than it now has.

First of all, the MEP has valid reason to be concerned given that their program already seems to be lacking in adequate space.

According to Davien Burnette, an electrical engineering senior, "In a lot of ways, it was never enough space for us. We normally spill all over the floor."

For a campus that wants to pride itself for diversity in education, the College of Engineering still needs to prove that it values having a diverse student population by paying closer attention to the needs of its MEP students.

Second, the students have legitimate cause to confront their college officials about future renovation projects that could impact them so profoundly, even if projects are only ideas being considered. The College of Engineering should not even be considering plans that do not fairly account for and care for one of its most important student groups.

Such renovations could cause the MEP to lose membership and eventually be a less effective voice for minority students .

While officials from the College of Engineering and Mines assured the MEP students that no definite decisions to renovate have been made, they did not appear to be particularly enthusiastic about giving MEP students a say in plans to renovate.

According to electrical engineering senior German Fuentes, MEP students were not adequately informed about plans that the college officials were discussing with architects.

"I think the deans were being dishonest with the students," Fuentes said. "What I was hearing was that the student were not being listened to."

Deans from the engineering college were upset by the MEP students' actions, and considered them to be "threats."

It seems that the deans do not realize that their future plans could very well pose a threat to the MEP.

True, no definite plans for renovation have been made. But it seems clear that the college officials and the MEP are having communication problems that must be remedied before any plans are set in stone.

In order to prove that it truly prizes the diversity among its students, the college of engineering and mines must make sure that whatever plans are eventually put into effect give the MEP the amount of resources it deserves.

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