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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Few people show up at ASUA forum

    Although quantity was supposed to be a significant factor at the ASUA forum on Wednesday evening, the eight students who attended the forum had their voices heard and their questions answered.

    Associated Students of the University of Arizona Sen. Gabby Ziccarelli, who organized the forum, began by having the senators introduce themselves, and give a small brief on each of their specific focuses and committees.

    Campus safety was quickly brought to the attention of the senators, many of whom serve on campus safety committees. Residence life safety was the first topic of concern.

    “”I assume you are talking about the two sexual assaults, and, of course, last year we had several incidents. The senate itself is putting out a survey which will ask students what they feel comfortable with. It is a give-and-take situation – the more you increase safety, the less privacy students have. What we are looking at doing is asking students about security cameras and increased desk staff on the weekends or seven days a week,”” said Sen. Bryan Baker.

    Although residence life safety is a major concern for many students, all UA students are affected by campus safety, or lack thereof.

    “”The freshman class only composes a quarter of the university. Certain areas of campus will be isolated,”” said Sen. Jimmy MacKenzie. “”Students will be able to vote where they feel least safe on campus. It will really give UAPD and the Bluelight System something to focus on.””

    Ziccarelli is working on a commuter survey for off-campus safety, and students are able to give ideas that could go directly into the survey. The commuter discussion quickly turned into talk about the recent violence on campus.

    “”Some of the senators here have met with Sgt. (Juan) Alvarez (of the University of Arizona Police Department) and statistically speaking, campus is pretty safe. It is more the perception versus reality. The reality is the crimes that occur around campus are more theft and property damage,”” said Sen. Andre Rubio. “”When you see things like assault-wise, or a physical victim, that normally happens where there is some sort of acquaintance or something like that. At every university, you are going to have problems, but when someone reads it in the paper they are going to think they are a lot less safe.””

    Just as the safety talk started to die down, President Robert Shelton’s tuition proposal was brought to the attention of the senators. ASUA President Tommy Bruce emphasized that the proposed 13.1 percent tuition increase was not permanent. When asked where the extra tuition money will be distributed, Bruce said that it mostly goes to staff and energy bills that the state cannot pay.

    Sen. Emily Fritze pointed out the correlation between rising tuition and lack of scholarships.

    “”The fact that when you first enter the university with an in-state scholarship with a stipend amount, if you look at it my 7,000 (dollars, for instance, it) is depreciating as the tuition raises,”” Fritze said. “”It affects the students who come here with the highest academia and the students who come here with the most financial need.””

    Also in attendance were Arizona Students’ Association Board Chair Michael Slugocki and Vice Chair Kendal Nystedt, who are working to lower the increase and possibly put a cap on further tuition increases.

    “”Point one of our plan is about accountability and ensuring that specific portion of total tuition revenue goes to student-determined priorities. The second portion that we are pushing is predictability,”” Nystedt said. “”That is because the other two in-state colleges, (Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University), have predictable tuition plans. That means that when students enter NAU they know how much it is going to cost them their first year, and they get a guaranteed rate that their tuition will not increase. At ASU, they know how much their tuition is going to cost them their first year; their tuition will not increase more than 5 percent in five years. The U of A has nothing.””

    As the forum came to a close, Ziccareli encouraged students to continue communicating with the ASUA senators whether it be during senate meetings, office hours or future forums.

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