Dying depts. plead cases

By Amanda Hunt

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Supporters of the physical education and journalism departments finally had a chance to speak to the people who will decide the departments' fate.

In the "call to the audience" portion of the Arizona Board of Regents meeting at the University of Arizona yesterday, members of the audience made pleas about saving the two departments. The board makes the final decision about the future of the departments, following recommendations from UA President Manuel T. Pacheco and the UA Faculty Senate.

In January, Pacheco seconded Provost Paul Sypherd's recommendation to eliminate the departments by 1998. Journalism, physical education and statistics are the three programs proposed for elimination. Statistics could be eliminated as early as 1996. No one was present to speak on behalf of the Statistics Department.

Journalism students argued that the commitment by faculty to undergraduate education, the scholarship of students in the department, and the reputation of the department are key reasons for keeping the department.

Both journalism supporters and physical education supporters argued that it is not logical to cut departments that have brought the university prestige and honors.

Edith Auslander, a former regent and co-chairperson of the Save the Journalism Department Committee, said, "Journalism has a future at the University of Arizona."

Auslander, who works as the human resources director at Tucson Newspapers Inc., said the journalism department is important because it prepares students for upcoming changes in news technology.

"There's a way to resolve these issues for the betterment of the University of Arizona and the other two universities in the state, and that is to take this discipline and put it together collaboratively with other like disciplines," she said.

"Like in terms of today and in terms of tomorrow."

Auslander suggested combining disciplines such as journalism, library sciences, public relations and others in a "way that has never been done before."

"Journalism and the study of journalism ... is the centerpiece for such an effort involving communications and other disciplines. We have them here, let's bring them together," she said.

Physical education proponents argued that the study of physical education is an important part of an academic education and is necessary for a heathy society.

Tucson Unified School District and Amphitheater School District representatives said closing the department would have an "immediate" effect on local schools and further limit the quality and quantity of physical education teachers and coaches.

Pima Community College representatives argued that eliminating the department would affect them too, because a large portion of the PCC physical education students transfer to the UA to earn their bachelor's degree.

Rich Ormand, a sophomore at PCC, who plans to transfer to the UA for a degree in physical education, was critical of the apparent inattention of the board during the call.

"If we could've just had 100 percent attention of the board, while we were presenting our arguments ... that just really sends a message to me that our messages are not considered valid," Ormand said.

Pacheco left the room twice during the call to the audience and Sypherd was reading the paper.

Both departments have held student, faculty and community fact-gathering forums for Faculty Senate review committees. The committees will submit reports simultaneously to Pacheco and the Faculty Senate in April. The board will vote on the measures in June.

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