Over the summer it was the Statistics Department. Last week, it was Journalism and two graduate programs: Communication and Near Eastern Studies.

And this week, students learned that the Nuclear Engineering Department also faces elimination. Never mind that there is a functioning nuclear reactor in the department that must be maintained, or that nuclear engineering will be a vital field for centuries. The university has to save money somehow.

Unfortunately, this university has decided to save money in ways that damage the core of the institution: education.

No, the University of Arizona has not yet emerged from its financial crisis. Cuts have to be made, and employees have to be let go. But for all the talk of "Total Quality Management" and "streamlining," the budget cutters look first, last and always at educational programs.

Want an alternative? Then spend a few minutes browsing through the Student/Faculty/Staff Directory under the heading "Administration." You will see that the university has associate vice presidents, assistant vice presidents, deputy vice presidents, administrative and special assistants, administrative associates and executive assistants _ to name a few. Perhaps there's a little fat to cut, after all.

Want more proof? Consider this. The proposed elimination of the Journalism Department would save the university about $490,000 a year. That covers the salary of about four top-level administrators.

The university will pay for this constant shortsightedness. Administrators may be content to send journalism students packing to Arizona State University, but how will they react when constant program cuts completely ruin the university's reputation? How many more students will opt to pursue higher education elsewhere? How much research money will flow when the entire nation thinks of the UA as second rate?

And with ASU's new status as a Reseach I university _ and the accompanying reputation as an up-and-coming school _ how much longer will the UA be considered "Arizona's university"?

The education-last attitude at the University of Arizona must change. If it doesn't, the quality of education will continue to decline until the nickname "Tucson Tech" will be considered a compliment. Read Next Article