Arizona Board of Regents¹ president-elect John Munger criticized minority programs at the Arizona universities by saying he wouldn¹t vote on the 1996-1997 budget unless ³discriminatory² scholarships and assistance are eliminated.
His idea of deleting minority financial aid and assistance and programs designed to help smooth students¹ transition from high school to college has somehow gotten confused with exactly how much those programs impact the Arizona universities¹ budgets.
Regent Rudy Campbell said the programs Munger wants to eliminate equals approximately $300,000 of a requested budget of $858 million.
When criticism against his remarks surfaced he softened his stand by saying his remarks were nothing more than ³off-the-cuff² and that he wouldn¹t raise the issue when the board votes on the budget next month. That is, if the board promises to revisit the topic in the very near future.
In order to appease critics, Munger said his intention was to make programs solely designed to assist minorities available on a need basis for all students. He said students should not receive aid or assistance based on matters of race; instead, need should be the determining factor when doling out assistance.
The truth of the matter, Regent Munger, is that all students have access to financial aid, and all students receive aid on a ³need² basis. We think your idea of changing the financial aid and assistance situation would be detrimental to the minority student population and by deleting certain programs you would only harm the current status of minorities at this university, and not give everyone as fair a shake as you seem to think.
A dose of his own medicine
Alberto Moore, president of the Hispanic Professional Action Committee, criticized UA President Manuel Pacheco¹s and the university¹s record on minority recruitment, retention and advancement of Hispanic faculty, administrators, and staff in a letter to Pacheco dated Aug. 9. He also expressed his concern in his letter to the president about the graduation rate of Hispanic students at the university.
Pacheco, who received Moore¹s letter at about the same time as the local media, penned a blistering Aug. 16 response: ³It was both unprofessional and cowardly of you to ambush me without even letting me know what you intended to do. My approach may be slow, and it certainly is not flashy, but I believe it is enduring and substantive. I am for substance, not show. I refuse to be coerced into actions that are superficial, showy or designed to attain a public relations impression of machismo,² he said.
A little over a year ago certain programs were singled out as being ineffectual and not necessarily crucial to the mission of a Research One university and it was recommended that they should be phased out. These programs found themselves ambushed in an attempt to get rid of them as quickly and quietly as possible. These departments are certainly not flashy and had been designed for substance, not show. They refused to be coerced; they are not public relations tools to be used by the university in whatever superficial, showy way that is asked of them. Those programs benefit the students, and the community, and yet, university administrators wish to flex their machismo in an effort to make a lasting impression.
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