By Amanda Hunt
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Students from the Asian Pacific American Student Center attended a special budget meeting Friday in another effort to help achieve financial parity with the other cultural centers on campus.
Three members of the Strategic Planning and Budget Committee discussed the University of Arizona Strategic Plan with students at a Minority Student Advisory Committee. The strategic plan outlines the goals of the university and the methods that will be used to achieve those goals.
The APASC students were special guests at the meeting. Cecilia Lou, assistant dean of Student Affairs at the center, said the meeting was an opportunity for students to give their input about the direction in which the university is heading. The plan prioritizes minority student and student affairs issues in transforming the university's educational activities.
Lou said student input will help the effort toward increasing the APASC budget. The two-year-old center has a budget of $33,900 and one part-time dean. The budgets of the other centers, the African American Cultural Resource Center, the Chicano/Hispano Student Resource Center, and the Native American Cultural Resource Center, range from $105,000 to $111,000. Those centers each employ three full-time professionals.
The students previously met with UA Provost Paul Sypherd, Dean of Students Melissa Vito and Vice President of Student Affairs Saundra Taylor to discuss the disparity. The students were advised to take part in the meeting to better understand how the budget process works.
Joaquin Ruiz, SPBAC chairman, said the plan is "a map of what the university should be and will move to be." Because there is little increase in the budget, there will be only "steady growth at best" for transforming the university, he said.
Kelmer Tillman, a family and consumer resources senior, said she believes that the university devalues student affairs. She said the plan looked "pretty good" but questioned how realistic its goals were.
"Minority students believe they are special people," said Alma Vince, a graduate student in the higher education department. Vince said by including minority students in the university's priorities, they will be empowered to succeed.
The students commented on the most recent draft of the strategic plan, and were invited to submit suggestions amending the plan. The final draft will be voted on by the Arizona Board of Regents in June.
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