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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Mailbag: Feb. 3

Discussion should be informed

While in general I hold the Arizona Daily Wildcat in high esteem, I was forced to take exception to the ill informed and cursory opinion expressed by the editorial staff in the Jan. 31 edition of the Wildcat (in the Pass/Fail editorial) concerning the university’s ban on the consumption of marijuana on its campus. The letter prepared by the university’s general council says, in essence, that the university may not receive federal funds should the university permit the smoking of marijuana, including medical marijuana, on campus and thus it will not allow students to do so.

Against the harm of losing millions of dollars in federal aid, making its students ineligible to use federal loans, grants, or scholarships and its faculty unable to receive federal funding to pursue their research, the editorial board advances the claim that failing to allow medical marijuana consumption on campus compromises the university’s reputation as “”an institution that boasts freethinking and promotes knowledge and the health of its students and faculty,”” and deprives those suffering from a debilitating disease their most efficacious treatment.  

The editorial board in no way gives readers a reason to support this nebulous and quite possibly fallacious claim. At a time when the university is suffering from the very real harm of a declining budget and the possibility of a further cut of up to 20 percent advancing, this argument is juvenile at best.  

Please give your readers an honest cost/benefit analysis of a serious situation by outlining the dollar costs to the university, its faculty, and the average student weighed against a metric your readers could examine your competing view against. Otherwise, please avoid discussion of concrete policy. You have a duty to your readers to inform a discussion, not simply provide empty rhetoric.

— Jacob Knutson

UA alumnus

Financial aid must be a student priority

The article “”Pell Grant funds uncertain”” (Jan. 30) did an outstanding job of explaining the potential impact of cuts to the Pell Grant because there is a general lack of financial aid available to Arizona students.

Any cut to student financial aid will have lasting consequences, especially in the face of potential tuition increases. Pell Grants make it possible for scores of students to receive an affordable education, a feat almost completely out of reach just a generation ago. If our country and our state are to remain viable in the global marketplace, education must be accessible so we can continue to graduate world-class engineers, teachers, business majors and so on.

Another factor that needs to be taken into consideration when talking about Pell Grant cuts is Arizona’s desperate shortfall of state-based financial aid. Arizona invested very little in the form of financial aid — the state disbursed a mere $15.9 million in the 2009-10 school year. The same lack of investment in financial aid isn’t so apparent in other comparable states. Washington, which has a similar population size to Arizona, invested $244 million in 2009-10, while New Mexico, our regional competitor, invested $70 million the same year.

Still, Arizona Students’ Association remains committed to fighting for accessible and affordable higher education. Get involved and help protect Arizona students from tuition increases and financial aid cuts.  

— Elma Delic

Arizona Students’ Association, chairwoman

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