Regents vote to raise admission requirements

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

FLAGSTAFF Students will soon have to work a little harder in high school if they want to be admitted to a state university.

Yesterday the Arizona Board of Regents voted unanimously to approve a policy change that would add a fourth year of math, a third year of lab science, two years of a foreign language and a year of fine arts as requirements to admission at the three state universities, despite complaints that the changes might negatively effect minority and rural students.

The new requirements were approved in theory in the April meeting, but a vote to change an existing board policy had to be approved in order to implement the changes which will be effective in the fall of 1998.

Regent Doug Wall asked the regents to table the issue until a study could be completed regarding the ability of the state's high schools to comply with the changes on rural and minority students.

"High school students are not on a level playing field in this state," he said. "My problem is putting in a system of admissions requirements that discriminate about who can go (to college) and who can't when students aren't on a level playing field."

The Arizona State University Minority Outreach committee wrote a letter to the regents that "strongly urges the Arizona Board of Regents to delay the proposed admission requirement changes (because) as presently drafted the impact on potential minority students and on minority and rural school districts . will be negative."

However, the majority of regents said they thought there was no proof that the changes would negatively effect minorities or rural schools and agreed to support the changes immediately in order to implement the changes in four years. A study will be conducted by February, and additional changes may be made as necessary, the board decided.

Regent Judy Gignac said she thinks the changes will not overburden these students.

"I don't see how raising the admissions standards and what needs to be taught at rural schools is something they can't handle," she said. "It is wrong to say if you come from a minority or rural background, you can't rise to meet these standards."

Regents Rudy Campbell and Hank Amos said they feel the changes are beneficial to the students and the universities.

"Twenty-five percent of the people who come into the university system need to make up deficiencies during their first year, and those are the students who will probably drop out," Campbell said.

"We need to make a decision (about) what is best for higher education in this state," Amos said. "We don't want to cheat our students by not requiring them to perform at their highest standards."

In other business, the board voted unanimously to require the universities to conduct studies and provide information to the regents on the various reasons students leave the universities prior to graduating from the university

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they first enrolled in.

This was in response to an Oct. 14 audit by the Auditor General that concluded many students leave the universities without graduating, the universities could help students graduate more quickly and do more to address course availability problems and that student support services including orientation and academic advising need improvement.

Regent Andrew Hurwitz said the issues addressed in the audit were issues the board was already dealing with.

"There was not a single issue in the Auditor General's report that we have not spent a great deal of time on or had a task force created for," he said.

He said, however, that he was frustrated with the audit since it did not address attempts the regents or universities had made to attempt the problems or offer solutions.

Also in yesterday's meeting, the regents appointed three University of Arizona faculty members to a 10- member committee to monitor the implementation of the recommendation in the 1991 commission in the status of women report.

Judy Mitchell, a language, reading and culture professor; Janice Murphy, an executive assistant in social and behavioral sciences; and Anne Atwater, the acting department head of exercise and sport sciences, were approved unanimously for appointment to the committee.

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