Regents reject mandatory public service
Students planning to attend Arizona law or medical schools will not have to complete community service to be considered for acceptance because of an Arizona Board of Regents decision yesterday.
The board considered three different options at their meeting yesterday at the Arizona Cancer Center that would have created the public service mandate, but members were divided about which would be the best policy.
"The very spirit of volunteerism would be eroded by it (a mandate)," Regent Kay McKay said.
The most vocal supporters of the required community service were Regents President Hank Amos and Regent John Munger. The focus of their argument was the need to instill the necessity of public service throughout society.
"It's true that doing community service should come from the heart, but I think that we need to expose them to it to light the fire," Amos said.
The proposal would have required prospective University of Arizona law and medical school students and Arizona State University law students to do public service work. Possible service organizations include Meals on Wheels, food banks or soup kitchen work, VISTA or the Peace Corps.
"We (ABOR) are the very epitome of public service," Regent Rudy Campbell said. "I don't want to see public service regulated by laws."
Before the meeting, regents were able to hear students speak about the community service work they do on Arizona campuses without any provocation from the universities.
"I love to see students with the mind set that public service is the right thing for them to do," said student Regent Christine Thompson, a UA law student.
The students' comments had a large impact on the board, and many regents were confident that there was no need for the board to take any action on the mandates.
Following the discussion, Regent Jack Jewett proposed to scrap the first three mandatory options. Instead, he introduced a fourth option, which states that ABOR encourages students to participate in public service activities.
UA President Peter Likins proposed that the regents adopt the option that emphasizes the importance of community service, striking addendums that added an 80-hour community service requirement.
The board accepted Likins' proposal to endorse the plan without the mandate and to have students give updates on the community service progress.
"I would like to see students continue to be involved in community service voluntarily," Campbell said.