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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Medical school growth a concern

Alex Kulpinski
Alex Kulpinski / Daily Wildcat President Eugene G. Sander speaks at the Town Hall meeting in the Arizona Health Sciences Center on Wednesday afternoon.

President Eugene Sander addressed concerns about employee salaries and the growth of the two UA medical schools on Wednesday at his third town hall-style meeting this semester.

Attendees spoke about wanting to make the University of Arizona Medical Center a “destination care center,” meaning a more well-known hospital. Sander emphasized focusing on improving one program at a time in order to gradually gain national recognition.

“Remember we live in Arizona, and the idea is we need to be specifically driven toward things that are most important to our state, where we have a competitive edge, where we can get absolutely as well as it can be done any place in the world,” Sander said.

Sander commented on the state’s fiscal budget and the need for money to be appropriated toward Tucson and the UA. He said he hopes this year would be the last that UA administrators would have to “continually worry” about asking the Legislature to help fund the medical school in Phoenix.

“Not that I’m against finishing the medical school, but the truth of the matter is, it’s about time we got that done, and hopefully we’re able to focus on some other really, really equally high and very important priorities right here in Tucson, Arizona,” he said.

Attendees also expressed concern about Gov. Jan Brewer’s “at will law,” in which workers would be able to give up employment security and benefits for a salary raise. Sander said not many people, namely UA employees, would be willing to do so.

When asked about possible salary increases due to UA staff being recruited elsewhere with higher compensation, Sander said something needs to be done to turn around university personnel salaries.

“The harsh reality is when you go other places, you can make 20, 30, 40 percent more,” Sander said. “Our university is fundamentally sound and fundamentally strong, but we are fraying around the edges.”

The reason for this, he said, is because UA employees have not had “reasonable compensation” for a long time.

Sander closed the meeting by commenting on the fiscal budget’s 5 percent cut to higher education.

“We’re working very, very hard to see whether there’s any way we can ameliorate part of that budget cut,” Sander said. “We’re going to have to suck it up, get through it, get done with it and get on with it.”

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