Physical education dept. might remain open

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The future of the physical education program is starting to look a little brighter after the faculty committee studying its elimination presented its recommendation to UA President Manuel T. Pacheco yesterday.

Although no one would discuss the specifics of the committee's recommendation until the report was officially released by the president, members of both the president's office and the physical education program confirmed that the committee recommended giving further consideration to keeping the department open.

Despite numerous attempts, the university would not release the recommendation to the Wildcat yesterday. At 5 p.m., when employees left for the day, the University Attorney's Office was still studying the report.

In February, Pacheco seconded Provost Paul Sypherd's recommendation to eliminate the physical education, as well as the journalism and statistics departments.

Pacheco now has the option of accepting the committee's suggestion to keep the department open or sticking with his original recommendation for elimination. The Arizona Board of Regents will have the final say on the fate of the department, most likely at its June meeting in Yuma.

In a series of public forums during the last month, the committee heard pleas from hundreds of students and faculty from across the campus, as well as elementary school teachers and students from across southern Arizona who called for the department to remain open.

Although cutting the department would save the UA $569,000 initially, members of the committee said that in the long run the state taxpayers would not save money because at least this much would be spent by local school districts to train physical education teachers and athletic trainers.

Separate faculty committees are studying the elimination of the journalism and statistics departments. These committees are expected to give their recommendations to Pacheco during the last week of April.

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