University drops phys. ed., statistics

By Yvonne Condes

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona Board of Regents' decision last June to close the UA's statistics and physical education departments has left faculty members and students wondering what their futures hold.

"Even if I graduate I don't have a fixed reference," said Marcel Nzeukou, a graduate student in the statistics department. "I have a ghost reference. It doesn't make me feel proud of my education."

Nzeukou came to the University of Arizona from Cameroon in West Africa, to study agriculture and economics. After he took his first statistics class, he "realized if I want to (do my) job very well, I need to understand statistics."

Many graduate students and instructors in the department have already moved on to other universities, said Yashaswini Mittal, statistics department head.

Yashaswini was hired five years ago to build a new statistics program for graduate students and was unprepared to fight for a program she had just begun to create.

"I came here to construct a program, not to fight political battles," Mittal said.

The unanimous June vote approved UA President Manuel Pacheco's proposal to phase out the programs after more than a year of meetings and protests.

The yearlong battle to save the two departments "was lost, and now we have to move forward," said Judy Sorensen, a tenured physical education lecturer.

Students already enrolled in the programs are expected to graduate by 1998, but no new students will be admitted into the program, said Boyd Baker, an associate professor of exercise and sports science.

There will be no difference in the quality of education or the ability to take the necessary classes for those majors, Baker said.

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