By Joseph Altman Jr.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
A group of students and citizens marched on the Mall yesterday to protest the provost's recommendation to eliminate the physical education program.
In September, Provost Paul Sypherd announced he would recommend the elimination of the physical education undergraduate program by May 1998. Last week, Sypherd announced he would also recommend the elimination of the journalism and statistics departments.
Approximately 50 protesters began walking at noon from the Ina E. Gittings Building to Old Main, carrying signs and chanting, "Educated minds need educated bodies." They were also joined by several protesting journalism students.
After stopping on the Mall, Tina Laughlin, a physical education senior, read from a pamphlet stating the needs for a physical education department at the University of Arizona.
Laughlin said the current demand for physical education educators in Arizona is not being met by Arizona's universities, and the loss of one of those schools will decrease the supply of educators available while the demand continues to increase.
"Our main goal is to make the community aware that we're not going to be able to fill the demand for teachers in physical education," Laughlin said.
Some protesters carried signs reading, "Sypherd and Pacheco must go Ä physical education must stay," and "Sypherd: Here's your pink slip."
"As students, we're not listened to at all by administrators. We want due process to be listened to by students and faculty in an appropriate manner," Laughlin said. "It's not up to one person to make a decision that affects a community of 35,000 plus faculty and staff."
Sypherd could not be reached to comment on the demonstration.
Further controversy ensued after a dispute regarding the scheduling of the Mall for yesterday's rally.
Diana Forrester, a physical education senior and one of the protest's organizers, said she reserved space on the Mall a week ago and was told the group would have use of the west end of the Mall for the protest. However, as part of Homecoming activities that have been taking place this week, the band Betty Stress was performing on stage during the protest.
One of the protesters went on stage while the band was performing and took a microphone.
The unidentified protester said, "Down with the administration Ä get rid of them."
That incident prompted Dan Maxwell of the Department of Student Programs to intervene.
Maxwell said a communication problem resulted in a scheduling conflict between the protest and the Homecoming activities.
"We did everything we were asked to do, to do this as legitimately and professionally as pos
sible, and this is the way we're treated?" Laughlin said. "We set it up just as well as they set it up. I don't understand why they get priority over us."
Forrester told Maxwell, "You set them there to drown us out. It's the administration's underhandedness at its finest."
Maxwell said that was not true and agreed to make an effort to reschedule the protest for another time when there will be no conflict.
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