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Affordability a top issue for new regents

By Greg Holt
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday September 8, 2003

Diversity and affordability of education are among the primary concerns for the governor's appointees to the Arizona Board of Regents.

Last week, Gov. Janet Napolitano selected Phoenix attorney Ernest Calderon and civic activist Lorraine Frank to serve as regents for eight-year terms starting next year.

"I'm concerned about the affordability of education in Arizona. I want to review the Changing Directions plan," Calderon said.

The Changing Directions Initiative is the regents' plan that will allow the three state universities to differentiate their missions. Part of the initiative includes making the universities more affordable.

While affordability is important, Frank said she understands the need for tuition increases.

"Cutting the number of students admitted in order to cut costs is a hard thing to justify," Frank said. "No one wants to see tuition rates go up, but we're in hard times right now. I feel the last tuition increase was inescapable."

No one wants to see tuition rates go up, but we're in hard times right now.
Lorraine Frank
civic activist

The Changing Directions Initiative also concerns issues of diversity, with many fearing that tighter admissions standards and higher tuition could lead to a more homogenous student body.

"Affecting admissions standards could inadvertently hurt diversity," said Calderon. "I would want there to be students from different racial and economic backgrounds."

But President Peter Likins has said that he wants to increase diversity on the UA campus.

"Our goal with the Changing Directions Initiative is to improve as a university, and diversity is a key element of that," said Likins. "There are selective universities that have been successful in recruiting very capable minority students, and we will learn from them."

Calderon, 45, has been a labor attorney with the Phoenix law firm Jennings, Strouss, and Salmon since 1990. He recently stepped down as president of the State Bar of Arizona, and has served on the boards of numerous civic organizations including the NAU foundation and the UA College of Law Association.

He earned his bachelor's degree at NAU and his law degree at the UA.

Frank, 80, has been a longtime activist for education and the humanities. She was a presidential appointee to the National Council on Humanities from 1993-1997 and became the founding executive director of the Arizona Humanities Council in 1995.

She has also sat on the Rhodes Scholar Selection Committee for Arizona and was on the Board of Trustees for Vassar College.

Frank previously worked with the regents as director of the regents' Commission on the Status of Women from 1989 to 1991, which aimed to "overcome impediments to the full participation and achievement of women" in the campus community.

"We were concerned with disparities in salaries. We found that men and women with similar backgrounds were getting paid differently," said Frank. "We also found that women were having a harder time getting tenure as professors."

Frank is a graduate of Vassar College and has honorary doctorate degrees from both ASU and the UA.

"Calderon is well acquainted with legal issues, and Frank has been a great public servant," said Regent Fred Boice. He added that he hopes both will support the Changing Directions Initiative.

If the state Senate approves the appointments, Calderon and Frank will replace Regents Kay McKay of Flagstaff and Don Ulrich of Paradise Valley.

Outgoing regent McKay said she considered Frank and Calderon "both great leaders and investigators who are very knowledgeable on the issues."

If confirmed by the state Senate, Calderon and Frank would begin their eight-year terms in January of 2004.

Gov. Janet Napolitano appointed Calderon and Frank on Tuesday. Calderon and Frank are both Democrats and were volunteers for Gov. Napolitano's campaign last year.

The board of regents oversees Arizona's public university system, which includes NAU, ASU and the UA.

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