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Friday September 1, 2000

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AIC officials should consult students before move

By The Wildcat Opinions Board

Students have come to the Arizona International College from all across the world - but their travels aren't finished yet.

Plans to relocate the small liberal arts college - for the third time - to a plot of land shared with a new Pima Community College campus in north Tucson are in the works, and ground could be broken by February.

AIC Dean Paul Rosenblatt said the move is necessary to accommodate the college's projected growth - enrollment is expected to reach 600 students in the next three years, double the current head count.

But the move just might jinx AIC officials' optimistic future.

The new site, slated for completion by fall 2003, is on North Shannon and West Magee roads - about 20 miles away from the current location just north of East Speedway Bouelevard on North Cherry Avenue.

Many AIC students take classes and utilize the amenities on the main University of Arizona campus, such as the residence halls. But putting the new campus across town could prevent students from being able to do this, even with the shuttle planned to ferry students back and forth.

Jason Baran, an AIC social studies junior, is one student who does not want to go the distance.

"I would probably transfer out because I don't want to go all the way to Pima," Baran told the Wildcat earlier this week. "It's so far away from all the amenities we have on campus, I'd never be able to take a shuttle."

If a majority of AIC's students feel the way Baran does, the reason for the school's move would be defeated. Building a new facility to accommodate a larger student body would be pointless if the students could not, or would not, follow.

Granted, it is better to have foresight than to have to scramble to expand while overcrowded facilities are bursting at the seams - but the intentions to move AIC, however good, are flawed as they currently stand.

Removing AIC students from the main campus would also distance them from such major facilities as residence halls, dining options that accept the CatCard, and on-campus employment - which would be of particular importance to work-study students.

These are not minor inconveniences - these are major components of the college lifestyle, especially for younger students who rely more on campus services.

AIC Vice Dean Dave Gnage said he has made an effort to keep "students informed of the possibilities" involved with relocating, but merely keeping them updated on information is not enough. Perhaps a council of student representatives could be formed who would have a say in the future of the college.

It has already been established that the school is growing and needs to have more space, so students will have to endure more changes, but if they are an active part of the process, they would probably be more receptive to them.

Giving AIC a new, permanent home is a good idea, but before finalizing where the college will be permanently located, school officials need to keep in mind those most affected - the students.

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