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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Presidential search nears end

The search for the next UA president is finally drawing to a close, after a selection process that has spanned more than a semester.

Senior Vice President of Research Leslie Tolbert and Faculty Senate Secretary J.C. Mutchler announced Monday at the Faculty Senate meeting that the Arizona Board of Regents will make its decision about who will be the next UA president within a week or two.

“I know everyone was not happy with how this search went, but it is incumbent on us to help make this next person feel he has 100 percent support from the faculty,” Mutchler said.

Tolbert and Mutchler, two members of a regent-appointed presidential search committee, said the Arizona Board of Regents has committed to sending the final candidates to meet with campus community members before the next university president is named. They did not specify when and where this meeting would be and whether it would be open to the public.

UA Interim President Eugene Sander said ABOR will reveal its decision at one of its meetings on Feb. 17 or 18.

“At this time four or five years ago, they were concluding the search,” he said. “I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the February Board of Regents meeting would be when they would announce their decision … but I’m not going to hint at anything else.”

The Faculty Senate’s concern over Senate Bill 1474 took center stage for the rest of the meeting.

The bill would allow anyone with a concealed weapons license to take their firearm onto a university campus. Members of the senate voted unanimously to send a letter of opposition to the state legislature concerning the bill. The letter states UA faculty is strongly against SB 1474 and encourages members of the legislature to commit themselves to a meaningful dialogue on the subject.

Sander, who said he owns several rifles and a handgun, had strong words against the passage of the bill.

“There are a lot of responsible gun owners. I am not worried about them,” he said. “I am worried about the yahoo who would walk into Centennial Hall with a gun, or someone like the guy who killed several members of our faculty a few years ago … The argument that a lot of people carrying guns will make it safer is wrong.”

Sander addressed concerns raised from members of the Graduate and Professional Student Council regarding a university run daycare. He said because of ABOR Policy 1-105, which prohibits the university from competing with private industry, a university-run daycare would cost more than competitors in the area.

“I am not trying to be discouraging but there is a rich history in this issue that has given us nothing but heartburn,” he said. “I think the university, if it had got this done, would have done it a while ago.”

Sander brought up several additional budget issues to faculty members. He mentioned a plan by several state legislators to put forward a bill to fund the $14.1 million UA Phoenix medical campus, after it was left out of Gov. Jan Brewer’s recommended budget for fiscal year 2012.

“That budget hurt us more than it did us any good, however we think we are making progress in terms of fixing things,” he said.

He said a bill will be proposed next Wednesday to stick $14 million into the state budget for the Phoenix area medical school.

“We are very glad to participate for it, but whether this bill survives the appropriations committee is problematic,” he said.

Sander brought another state funding issue to the attention of faculty senate members. He said the governor’s proposal for a $30 million performance funding initiative for the Arizona University System has bothered him to no end.

“I don’t mind being based on performance but I have a real problem where the money comes for this item,” he said, adding the money for the performance funding will be taken directly out of the university system’s already dwindling budget.

The Faculty Senate meeting ended with a report from UA Chief Financial Officer Milton Castillo. Castillo said the UA raised tuition by 20 percent in 2011 to counteract a 23 percent budget cut from the state. He said the UA is down around $50 million in state funding from 2008 levels.

“All the tuition increases have not offset our losses in state support,” he said.

Castillo pointed out that 63 percent of the university’s current operating expenses are from employee salaries and benefits, the majority of which comes from salary and salary benefits for tenured faculty.

He said for FY 2012, the university is estimating a total of $90 million in surplus revenue, down from $95 million in 2011. He said the decrease in revenue is principally due to some $80 million in state cuts to university education.

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