Study 'late but important' to administrators

By Keith Allen

Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA administrators view Tuesday's Arizona Board of Regents' approval of an affirmative action self-study for the three state universities as a positive step.

"We are finally making progress," said Dr. Jesse Hargrove, assistant dean of the African American Student Center. "They (the regents) are hearing what we've been asking for for years. We've been begging for these types of assessments."

According to the decision approved by the regents, the self-study will review each program or activity that falls within the affirmative action characterization. This includes admissions, student financial aid, student services and academic support, employment and procurement.

The study hopes to determine whether or not affirmative action activities are consistent and still necessary.

"I don't think it is a bad idea," said Cecilia Lou, assistant dean of the Asian American Student Center, of the study. "It is probably going to reveal some things we need to reveal anyway."

Lou said the study should give the university a clear picture of where it stands in relation to affirmative action, and what it needs to work on.

"It's late but important," said Jennie Joe, director of the Native American Resource and Training Center. She said that studies on this subject should have been going on periodically.

Hargrove also said he thought these types of studies should be done every five years and on all campuses nationally.

"For too long these programs have not been paid attention to for their effectiveness," Hargrove said.

Though the self-study has been approved, Janie Nunez, associate vice president of the UA Affirmative Action Office, said that no guidelines have been set up yet for the self-study.

"At this point, all the groups will get together and see how each of the projects will fit together," Nunez said.

Nunez said that she would like to see the three public universities work in tandem so that similar standards can be set throughout the state.

The Affirmative Action Office will only address the employment issues. Other parts of the study will fall under the vice president of student affairs, the senior vice president for business affairs and other departments on campus, Nunez said. She said she has yet to be contacted about how the office will participate in the study.

Both Saundra Taylor, vice president of student affairs, and Joel Valdez, senior vice president for business affairs, could not be reached for comment.

Hargrove said that he hopes the minority resource centers are contacted and consulted for the study as part of the broader student services and affirmative action concerns.

"It is trying to reach a color blind society, and because of the actions in California," Nunez said, "there seems to be some reverberations and strong scrutiny of programs."

The University of California Board of Regents voted to eliminate affirmative action programs within its system last summer.

Nunez said that in the work force there has seen strong progress in many areas, but there is still a substantial number of areas that need to be worked on.

Said Nunez, "We want diverse groups because it helps people to learn to survive in a diverse society."

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