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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Top 10 stories of the year

    ASUA Executive Vice President David Reece resigns during the senate meeting Feb. His resignation was a surprise to many in attendance.
    ASUA Executive Vice President David Reece resigns during the senate meeting Feb. His resignation was a surprise to many in attendance.

    1. Budget cuts

    President Robert Shelton made almost $30 million in budget cuts and reallocations this year, including a $9.3 million cut to the UA’s base budget and a $10 million cut in April, resulting in cries of protest from academic departments.

    Pierre Meystre, head of the physics department, told his faculty he will resign, citing a “”lack of leadership and vision”” in the UA’s higher administration.

    Richard Michod, head of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, said he had similar feelings.

    “”The university is trying to do too much,”” Michod said. “”I’m really upset with the president.””

    Mark Smith, chemistry department head, said he’s not sure differential cuts to almost all areas of the university are the best way to stabilize the budget. He said the chemistry department faces a 2 percent funding cut of $120,000.

    “”This has to stop at some point,”” Smith said.

    The Equestrian Team, Arizona’s first intercollegiate horse show team, was also eliminated.

    In addition, both a research and an instructor position were cut from the Animal Sciences department, said Ron Allen, the department’s head.

    Shelton said he expects to cut $5 million from the 2009 fiscal year budget.

    2. Tuition and fee increases

    Tuition and fee increases continued for another year, as the Arizona Board of Regents passed a 5 percent tuition increase in November and technology fee increase of $50 in March.

    The changes mean that next year’s resident tuition will be $4,824, and the yearly library and technology fee will reach $115.

    Student leaders, led by the Graduate and Professional Student Council, asked for a fee increase of $21.

    Student leaders from Arizona’s universities asked the regents to consider a 2.3 percent tuition increase for all students, while Shelton called for a 6.5 percent tuition increase.

    The regents rejected both proposals, opting for a resident tuition increase of 5 percent and nonresident tuition increase of 8.5 percent.

    3. Provost Davis to step down

    Provost George Davis announced in February he will step down from his position at the end of June, after serving for seven years.

    Davis said he plans to remain involved in the campus community as a regents professor of geosciences.

    Eugene Sander, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will be interim provost until a permanent replacement is found.

    Vicki Chandler, director of the BIO5 Institute and a regents professor of plant sciences, will head the 25-person search committee for a permanent provost.

    Shelton said Davis has been “”absolutely essential”” in helping the university adjust to his new leadership.

    Former President Peter Likins, who hired Davis in 2000, said being provost is one of the hardest jobs at any university.

    “”The years I had with George were just the very best,”” Likins said.

    “”It’s a thrill to work with somebody like that,”” said Jerry Hogle, vice provost for

    instruction, praising what he called Davis’s open mind and big heart.

    4. Proposition 300

    Proposition 300 passed in November and denies illegal immigrants any publicly subsidized funds from the state of Arizona, including eligibility for resident tuition at the UA.

    About 12,000 continuing students needed to provide documentation when student verification began, but only 100 will actually be affected by the proposition, Shelton said.

    About 7,600 students still needed to provide proof of their citizenship in April to continue paying in-state tuition fees.

    Many opponents of the proposition claim that the costs of registering students will outweigh the benefit from the added income of their out-of-state tuition.

    A full report of the university’s implementation of the law will be presented to the Arizona Board of Regents on June 30.

    5. Shelton’s first year in office

    In his first year at the UA, Shelton has demonstrated that he will lead with an iron fist – especially when it comes to fiscal matters.

    Shelton made a $10.3 million cut to the UA’s operating budget, kept UApresents alive with a $1.2 million loan and put a stop to the $350 million Rainbow Bridge project.

    He made $19 million in additional cuts and spent the greater part of this semester lobbying for more funding from the state Legislature.

    But Shelton has established himself in other areas of the UA, agreeing to carry on Likins’ goal for the UA to become a Hispanic Serving Institute. In October he joined Likins, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and other state leaders in opposing Proposition 107, which would have prevented the state from recognizing domestic partnerships.

    Shelton’s first year was filled with a parade of public appearances, from welcome parties at the UA Bookstore to blood drives.

    “”I’ve got 37,000 people to meet,”” Shelton announced in August. “”So I might as well start today.””

    6. Retired professor murdered

    Mac E. Hadley, a retired UA professor, was found murdered in his home after it was set on fire Nov. 15.

    “”Mac was passionate,”” said Victor Hruby, who collaborated with Hadley for 37 years. “”He worked hard, he was a very dedicated and critical person, and he really enjoyed what he did.””

    Marco Antonio Chavez, 31, the man suspected of killing Hadley, was charged with first-degree murder and is being held in Pima County Jail.

    Chavez was also charged with arson of an occupied structure, first-degree burglary, possession of stolen property and grand theft auto – all felony charges.

    Chavez may be given the death penalty if convicted, said defense attorney Darlene Armbruster.

    7. ASUA resignations

    David Reece, executive vice president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, resigned Feb. 21, citing his opposition to using club funding for the pro-choice group Medical Students for Choice and a UA production of “”The Vagina Monologues.””

    Reece was also under investigation stemming from his work in club funding as well as allegations that he had falsified clubs to funnel money to ASUA candidates during the election season.

    ASUA President Erin Hertzog said she was surprised, but because of the recent issues raised about Reece’s conduct, she said his decision was the best thing for him and ASUA as a whole.

    Reece cited his desire to spend more time with his grandmother as a reason for his resignation.

    Three weeks after Reece’s resignation, seven of the 10 members on the Appropriations Board, which allocates money for club activities, resigned as well, citing changes in ASUA bylaws that limited the authority of Appropriations Board decisions.

    8. Shooting outside fraternity

    A UA freshman was shot in the torso outside Phi Delta Gamma fraternity house, 1801 E. First St., during the early hours of Sept. 9.

    Robert Ramos, 18, and William Edward Morgan, 16, were arrested for the shooting and booked into Pima County Jail.

    The shooting took place after an exchange between fraternity members and the two teenage males in the drive-through at Taco Bell, 1818 E. Speedway Blvd.

    Ramos and Morgan later drove by and fired shots at the fraternity house, hitting a female student, 18, who was released from University Medical Center after surgery.

    The Dean of Students Office later said they would not investigate the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity members who were allegedly associated with the incident.

    In March, Morgan was sentenced by Judge Gus AragÇün to more than 20 years in prison, while Ramos received 7 1/2 years.

    9. Campus safety

    Campus safety was a big concern this semester after the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech, an on-campus sexual assault and the shooting at Phi Delta Gamma fraternity house.

    Although changes have been made to increase campus safety since the UA College of Nursing shooting five years ago, University of Arizona Police Department Chief Anthony Daykin said an incident similar to the one in Blacksburg, Va., cannot be prevented.

    “”We know it can’t be 100 percent safe, but we do the best we can,”” Daykin said.

    The sexual assault took place at Manzanita-Mohave Residence Hall on April 12, said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, UAPD spokesman.

    Security cameras and overnight police patrols have since been implemented at Manzanita-Mohave to create a safer environment.

    “”It’s clear to me that students in general are very concerned about security right now,”” said James Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life, attributing his concern to the Virginia Tech tragedy as well as the sexual assault incident.

    10. Medical and bioscience expansions

    UA was thrust into the bioscience scene this year with the opening of the BIO5 building in Tucson and the UA College of Medicine at the new biomedical campus in downtown Phoenix.

    The College of Medicine, located at the three renovated Phoenix Union High Schools at 550 E. Van Buren St., will welcome its first class of 24 students this summer and reach 150 students within two years.

    The biggest hurdle the school will have to overcome is funding, Shelton said.

    Although the school received $7 million in start-up funds from the state, it will need an additional $169 million to increase class sizes – $33 million of which needs to come from the state, with the rest from private organizations.

    The state Legislature was so skeptical of College of Medicine expenses that they subpoenaed the Arizona Board of Regents this semester for documents pertaining to costs.

    – compiled by Natasha Bhuyan and Chase Gilbert

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