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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Future at stake; UA must fight

    Times are tough and getting tougher, perhaps even more so in Arizona than in the rest of the country. The growth, specifically real estate development, that has fueled our region for so long has practically ground to a standstill.

    We must all make tough decisions. Education in our state, and the University of Arizona in particular, has seen the writing on the wall for some time – witness the UA Transformation plan that continues to unfold on our campus. Although we have often analyzed specific changes suggested through the plan, criticized the process itself and argued for more transparency and a greater role for students at the table, we cannot argue that the idea itself is a prudent, perhaps even unavoidable step for our university to take.

    Legislators in Phoenix are in the less-than-enviable position of needing to balance a state budget that is seemingly in a freefall, and it is a political reality that they will cut most from the arms of the state that have the smallest constituencies – and from those whose funding is not constitutionally protected.

    Over the past few decades, our state’s universities have repeatedly wound up at the bottom of the priority list, largely because the influence of these institutions has become so interwoven into the fabric of our communities that it is often difficult to isolate and quantify.

    The argument has been made, both nationally and locally, that we should not mortgage the future of our young people by creating massive deficits that must be repaid. We feel, however, that it is better to inherit some mortgage payments than to be left in poverty – intellectually, culturally and yes, financially.

    Our public education system, including our state universities, pays dividends far beyond its impact on the lives of current students and the surrounding community. Graduates will go on to become future doctors, lawyers, engineers, ranchers, foresters, scientists – the list goes on, but each is vital to the future prosperity of the state.

    Additionally, university programs in nearly every department – from agriculture to journalism to architecture to law – make a real difference in the lives of Arizona’s citizens today.

    Add to this list the river of talent from around the world attracted by our world-renowned institutions, and the benefit to private industry of the inventions and discoveries made here.

    Despite the incredible impact we make on the state of Arizona, too often students and faculty remain silent. We are involved in the wonders and challenges of our own world, and we fail to share them with the world around us. We rely on our leaders to represent us, trusting that they can do the job alone.

    This apathy must end, beginning today. We have stood back, time after time, as those who do not understand us have chipped away at our foundations. The chipping has turned to heavy blasting, and we can no longer afford to look away.

    It is the job of every student, every professor, every person associated with education to spread the word. We must protest, we must write our legislators, we must appear on the steps of the capitol en masse – and most importantly, we must tell our story to every person we know.

    When you call your parents to ask for extra money, tell them about what is happening here. When your grandmother sends you a card for your birthday, write her back and tell her about the difference this place is making for you and for her. When you are home for the weekend, visit your next door neighbors and ask them to call their state representatives.

    The Arizona Students Association has organized protests across the state today, and ours is right here on the UA Mall. These protests will be effective only if the television cameras record a mass of humanity covering every inch of the Mall. Picture Homecoming times three, and that’s what we need.

    It starts today, and it starts with you.

    We will see you on the Mall today at noon. Wear black, and come ready to fight.

    Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Cody Calamaio, Justyn Dillingham, Taylor Kessinger, Heather Price-Wright, and Nickolas Seibel.

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