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Students fight to save school

DAVID HARDEN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA Provost, George Davis, addresses a crowd of about 100 people yesterday at the Campus Town Hall, which was held at the Gallagher Theatre in the Student Union Memorial Center.
By Erin Schmidt
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday September 3, 2003

Supporters of the School of Planning attended yesterday's town hall to ask President Peter Likins and Provost George Davis to take their school off the chopping block.

Approximately 20 supporters sat quietly in the back with their red "Save the School of Planning" shirts, listening to Likins and Davis discuss the future of their school.

Patricia Rogers, who said she hopes to enroll in the School of Planning, spoke about the elimination.

"I don't believe that President Likins fully understands what the School of Planning does," Rogers said. "We are called in whenever a community is running amuck."

She said it was a tragedy to eliminate the school from the UA.

"It is a unique program, that gives back to the community," Rogers said.

Cochise County and South Tucson were areas that Rogers said were improved by the School of Planning and its students.

"I am at a loss for why we are cutting this program," Rogers said.

Davis said that he had no doubt that all faculty members could come up to the microphone and discuss the value of their individual programs.

One of the reasons the school is slated for elimination is that the school had a one-degree program with no doctorate program available.

DAVID HARDEN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA President, Peter Likins addresses concerns yesterday at the Campus Town Hall. Supporters of the College of Planning urged Likins to remove their school from the chopping block.

He also said the school received little funding.

"There hasn't been the kind of stability in programming to develop the excellence that we expect," Davis said.

Davis said faculty members from the School of Planning have until the end of September to decide where they want to relocate.

Likins also fielded questions regarding the recent salary increases to top administrators.

He referred to ASU President Michael Crow and the recent raises he awarded his executive team.

"The Board of Regents observed a dramatic difference in salaries between ASU and UA," Likins said.

He said the Board of Regents created the Assessment and Compensation Committee, and that over the last 12 months they have been comparing salaries at the UA and ASU.

The regents found that the UA's top administrative salaries lagged significantly behind ASU's, Likins said.

For that reason, the regents got involved and worked with Likins to increase the salaries of the top executives.

"We increased payroll by 6.9 percent," Likins said. "All of which is below the comparable official salaries of ASU."

Likins said now with salary raises UA is within 10 percent of the norm, Likins said.

Likins said these salary increases are the first in six years.

Provost Davis added that administrators are still looking to increase faculty salaries in order to retain faculty.

Although Crow has offered 550 faculty members retirement incentives, Likins said there is no such offer at the UA because they want to keep faculty.

"Our desire is to hold on to our faculty, not replace it," Likins said.

UA is on the road to increasing diversity and elevating academic qualification for incoming students, Likins said.

"We want to be more successful in recruiting students who will continue throughout the full four years at the UA and consider graduate school," Likins said.

He estimates the makeup of incoming students at the UA will change within the next five to 10 years when Likins hopes that the UA will become a Hispanic-serving institution.

In order for UA to become such an institution 25 percent of students must be Hispanic and more than half of them must be needy.

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