By Kristen Pownall

Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA students angered at the recent recommended cuts of the Journalism program and Communications and Near Eastern Studies graduate programs took their concerns to higher powers yesterday.

About 10 students, some armed with signs, protested in front of the University of Arizona Administration building yesterday as a crowd of 50 or more gathered around.

Later, several journalism and communications students moved on to address members of the Arizona Board of Regents in their meeting in the Student Union.

A committee headed by Holly Martin Smith, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, suggested last week the eventual phase-out of the Journalism department and the Communication and Near Eastern Studies graduate programs over the next three years.

Students at the rally spoke out against the recommendations.

"This institution is ours and we need to have some say in running it," said Sophie Durney, a Mexican-American studies junior. He added that not everyone comes to the UA to do research.

Durney's words then touched off a debate with other attending students about the importance of research at the UA.

"Are you saying research isn't important?" said Brian Van Tine, a chemistry and biology senior. "You can't save every department when cuts need to be made. I'm not saying Journalism should be cut, but something has to be."

Vice Provost Martha Gilliland broke through the crowd to speak with the protesters, reaffirming that the proposed cuts are only the first in a series of steps leading to the possible elimination of the selected departments.

Smith and UA spokeswoman Sharon Kha also came down to answer student's questions and reiterate reasons why the prospective programs were chosen.

The committee's report cited, among other reasons, that there is a low demand for Near Eastern Studies graduates, that only 30 percent of students in the Journalism program go on to receive journalism jobs, and that the Communication graduate program has a small amount of applicants.

"I was very surprised to see the administration here," said Donine Dominice, a journalism graduate student."I can give them a small amount of credit to come out and face their accusers."

Some students attending the protest then went up to the regents meeting and spoke to the board during a call to the audience. Several professors and past graduates from the Journalism department also spoke during the call.

Frank Sotomayor, assistant metropolitan editor for the Los Angeles Times and a 1966 UA graduate, told the regents he felt the rationale for recommending the cuts was flawed.

"I attribute my success as a news writer and editor to the University of Arizona Journalism department," Sotomayor said. "The Journalism department is known nationally for its outstanding teaching and services."

And Amy Ebesu, a third-year communication graduate student, expressed similar sentiment to the board about the proposed cuts.

"This partly stems from a misunderstanding or confusion about what the Department of Communication does," she said. Read Next Article