By Tacie Holyoak
DAVID HARDEN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Members of the School of Information Resources and Library Science marched through campus yesterday to protest President Pete Likins' proposal to eliminate the school.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Januay 29, 2003
A diverse group of 200 people attended yesterday's Campus Town Hall to express concerns to President Pete Likins and Provost George Davis about their proposed budget cuts and program eliminations.
Members of the School of Information Resources and Library Science were among those who showed up waving colorful signs with messages such as "Got info? We need a library school!" to protest the cuts.
Linda Winn, a SIRLS representative, expressed her concerns over the possibility of eliminating one of the only library programs in the Western United States.
"If it wasn't for libraries, there wouldn't be a university," she said.
According to Winn, one in four librarians will retire in 2004, and she questioned who will run the libraries after that.
Davis recognized the critical shortage facing the field, but expressed a greater concern for the well-being of the entire university.
DAVID HARDEN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Provost George Davis and President Pete Likins address concerns about Focused Excellence at yesterday's Town Hall meeting.
"We feel those pressures keenly," he said, adding that SIRLS is unique.
We want to "put SIRLS back on its feet without ripping funds away from something else," Likins said.
However, SIRLS supporter Lisa Bunker doesn't think that self-sufficiency would save the school, either.
"To eliminate this school would cripple the University unnecessarily," Bunker said.
The next town Hall will be held on Feb. 4. Thoughts and concerns can be sent to email@example.com
Likins commended SIRLS for their attempts to save the school, but said it would take more than that.
"We need not slogans, but a plan," he said.
SIRLS had hoped the legislature would assist the University in maintaining a place on campus for the school, but possibilities of that, he said, seem slim.
Each change brings the UA closer to a "position to recognize our potential," Likins said. He emphasized the need to achieve excellence, a comment that received applause from Davis.
"We're daring to change this institution," Davis said. "To achieve that level of excellence takes investment."
However, representatives from the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture fear such an investment won't be in their favor.
Suzanne Bott, a conservation planner with the Sonoran Institute, came to support the schools of Planning and Landscape Architecture. Bott emphasized the importance of these programs in Arizona.
"We're facing great challenges ahead in terms of land use and borderland issues," she said.
Davis said he recognized the outreach the School of Landscape Architecture has on the community, but said it is a small, under-funded college.
"We feel if there could be reinforcement of the architecture program even at the expense of other activities, that would bode well for the University," Davis said.
Other concerns included possible higher entrance requirements for students. Likins responded by saying the UA will choose those who have the potential to succeed and the capacity to contribute to the university, more so than determining enrollment through "artificial numerical screening."
Attendees also addressed the proposal to eliminate Gary Pivo's position as the dean of the Graduate College.
Thomas Kinney, a graduate student in English, said he worried there could be a "slackening of respect for grad students" if the position is removed.
Likins assured the graduate students that the administration understands and will "focus sharply" on graduate assistants, saying that the university needs them to function.
"It doesn't matter that the things that are in peril here are good programs . . .that's just part of the casualty list."
However, Likins expressed his willingness to listen to the community.
"We're listening with hope," he said. Until then, the proposals will continue as planned, in an attempt to be "world class in all that we do."
"If we do nothing," he said, "everyone's at risk."