Campus leaders unhappy with task force changes
Members of Arizona Gov. Jane Hull's Task Force on Higher Education have announced several measures to increase student and faculty representation, but members of the Associated Students still want a more diverse presence.
The Task Force has announced that its meetings will be open, and it has also created several support groups in areas such as finance and enrollment planning. Members of the Task Force are hoping both measures will increase participation among university and community college leaders.
Cisco Aguilar, president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, said UA student leaders will take advantage of the new support groups.
"We are going to attend every meeting," Aguilar said. "We really need a student on this."
Students and faculty will serve on support groups, which will report directly to the university, but Aguilar said he wants more.
Aguilar also said he was not satisfied with the reasons for excluding students.
"We didn't understand how hard it would be to have one student from the universities and one from the community colleges," Aguilar said.
Members of the Task Force - including university and community college administrators and state business leaders - had planned to have open meetings all along, and they were not in response to student or faculty complaints, said Jaime Molera, Hull's policy adviser.
"I didn't want this group to be sequestered in a room," Molera said. "It's very open, as we see it."
Last month, UA leaders expressed disappointment about the exclusion of students and faculty members from the 16-member task force, which is responsible for creating a "blueprint for higher education."
Aguilar sent several letters to the governor's office asking that student regent Christine Thompson be granted a seat, but said he was disappointed with the response.
"We haven't had any feedback from the governor's office," he said.
Molera said there wasn't enough room on the task force to include faculty and student representatives from all colleges and universities.
"We try to get a very representative group from around the state," Molera said. "It began to be very unwielding. Not only do you have students from the universities demanding representation, but you also have students from community colleges."
Molera said he has received complaints from other student leaders as well.
"I understood their reactions," Molera said. "It wasn't a slight."
UA Faculty Chairman Jerrold Hogle said although he is still disappointed that faculty members were excluded from the task force, the support groups and open meetings are a "positive step."
"It's certainly better than what we had," Hogle said.
He said he's confident that student and faculty concerns will be communicated to the Task Force.
"(UA) President (Peter) Likins has given very strong assurances tha=t he will carry these opinions into the meeting himself if he has to," he said.