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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Regents talk state funding, Hart’s transition terms

Darien Bakas
Arizona Regent Jay Heiler speaks at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting in Tucson on Thursday, April 7. T

The Arizona Board of Regents kicked off its first meeting of the academic year at Northern Arizona University to discuss what’s new and what’s to come at all three of Arizona’s public universities.

Here are some key points the regents touched on in their first gathering of the semester:

The board unanimously approved amendments to the three Arizona university presidents’ contracts, including the transition terms for Hart’s move from president to faculty.

These terms include her taking a one-year sabbatical for her first year as an appointed faculty member.

Hart will also receive salary and benefits equal to the highest-paid faculty member of the College of Education.

RELATED: Hart: ‘Sometimes it’s time to move on

Board President Eileen Klein gave her president’s comprehensive report on university enrollment.

Klein also touched on the upcoming Oct. 1 budget request. The Klein said the request will focus on prioritizing students who are residents of Arizona and critical needs of each university.

Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Michael Finnegan also took to the podium during the regents’ call to the audience. Finnegan addressed the increase in tuition during his talk and challenged the board to address food insecurity on the UA campus and to find a way to support students who struggle to pay university tuition.

The regents reiterated one after another the need to strengthen their relationship with the state in order to increase funding.

“It’s not about funding the universities, it’s about funding the students,” said Michael Crow, Arizona State University president.

Realistically they said they’d like the state to come up with the money to fund half the cost of attendance per in-state student.

The board discussed and approved the fiscal year 2018-2020 capital improvement plans for each of the three universities.

Throughout the three Arizona universities there is an estimated $671 million in deferred maintenance, according to Lorenzo Martinez, associate vice president for finance and administration to the board.

Martinez said the plans are fairly small compared to the past years and the UA doesn’t have any project plans in the first year because of the leadership transition taking place. The UA does, however, have 11 projects listed on their two-year capital plan forecast, which have the potential of being considered in the future.

These projects include Arizona Stadium improvements, renovations to Centennial Hall, creation of a computational lab building, land acquisition and central campus infrastructure improvements.

UA President Ann Weaver Hart said it’s incredible how bad some of these buildings are and while they’re good at setting goals, they aren’t good at creating financial plans to implement them.

RELATED: UA tries to aid low-income students despite budget cuts

Klein said it’s on them to tell the state what they need them to do.

Michele Reagan, Arizona secretary of state, spoke to the board about the upcoming elections and the importance of getting people to vote.

Reagan said they’re focused on innovating the secretary of state office and engaging millennials and other voters. She said their new mobile-friendly website gives up-to-date information about the upcoming elections, initiatives and platforms and campaign finances of candidates.

She said their reason for creating the website is to get more people engaged and make the system more transparent. In the last couple of years, Reagan said there’s been a troubling decline in the number of voters aged 18-25. She said in the last election, 4 percent of votes came from that voting block, which could have made a difference in nearly every statewide campaign in 2014.

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