Dept. cuts now hinge on regents

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The fate of three UA departments may remain undecided for several more months.

The University of Arizona journalism, physical education and statistics departments already have two strikes against them, but the final decision remains in the hands of the Arizona Board of Regents. However, the regents will not vote on the issue until after a faculty report is completed.

Last month, President Manuel T. Pacheco seconded Provost Paul Sypherd's proposal to recommend elimination of the three departments.

Pacheco's recommendation was passed on to the Faculty Senate, which established three review committees that now have 90 days to study the recommendations and report back to the president.

Malcolm Zwolinski, the senate president, said the committee reports should be finished by April. At that time, the Senate as a whole can vote to approve or reject the committee's recommendation, or can choose not to address the issue, he said.

After receiving the committee reports, Pacheco can submit his recommendation to the regents at any time. He has the option of following or disregarding the committees' recommendations.

Suzanne Pfister, regents spokeswoman, said the board has not been given any indication of when the department cuts issue will be presented to the regents. She said the board will address the issue at the first meeting after Pacheco's rec- mid

ommendation is submitted. The regents meet April 27-28 in Tempe and June 1-2 in Yuma.

At the regents' meeting in January, Pacheco gave the board a preview of what to expect from his recommendation.

"As you have all likely heard, the University of Arizona is in the process of academic reorganization," he said. "We can no longer be all things to all people."

Regarding the statistics department, Pacheco said "it is difficult to justify the expense of a separate department for a few faculty." Physical education "is not sufficiently central to the mission of the university," he said.

Pacheco said he recommended eliminating the journalism department because he is "concerned about the quality of the program.

"I realize the courage it took to continue the process regarding restructuring, especially in light of the detractors," Regent John Munger said. "That is the kind of leadership we need; someone who with the pressure you have to put up with still has the courage to do what you think is right."

Other regents have said they will not comment about the department cuts until they are officially presented with the recommendations.

Yashaswini Mittal, statistics department head, said she plans to follow "due process" one step at a time and will not meet with any of the regents until after the Faculty Senate process is completed.

She said, for now, she and other members of the department will be available to respond to questions from the Senate committee.

"I think the faculty should have had a voice a long time ago, so we will cooperate in any way we can," she said.

Representatives from the journalism department and alumni are already anticipating future steps in the process and have met with regents and state legislators.

The Faculty Senate committees have "a lot of work to do within the 90-day framework," including holding hearings and open forums, Zwolinski said.

The Journalism Review Committee is comprised of nine people, including department head Jim Patten, a journalism staff member and a journalism student. The Physical Education Review Committee is comprised of 11 members, including two exercise and sports sciences professors and one staff member. Two statistics professors and two students are involved on the third review committee. Three other students are also involved with the committees.

Patten was unavailable for comment this weekend.

The committee members are approved by the Senate's executive board as part of a "well established" process, Zwolinski said.

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