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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


LIVE: Arizona Board of Regents meeting coverage

3:29 p.m. 

After much discussion, the proposed changes to the AIMS scholarships was approved by the Board of Regents 9-1, with Tom Horne being the only dissenter. More details will follow later in the evening and tomorrow in the print edition of the Wildcat

2:04 p.m. 

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne arrived sometime during lunch. He is most likely here to contribute to the AIMS discussion. 

2:00 p.m. 

The meeting has reconvened from lunch. Two information items, one on the WestEd program and one on Getting AHEAD, will be discussed before the Board addresses the AIMS scholarship.  

12:20 p.m. 

The meeting has adjourned for lunch and will reconvene at approximately 1:30 p.m. Please check back for updates at that time.

12:07 p.m.

Capital Improvement Plans:

NAU submitted a request for a new science health center to be constructed on campus, as well as two new residence halls and a parking structure that are privately financed. NAU will also seek funds for a new office classroom building and multipurpose event facility.

ASU will look to improve student services buildings on all four ASU campuses. These renovations will be funded through student fee money. Campus infrastructure improvements to drainage lines and pedestrian walkways totaling around 12 million were also submitted. Lastly, ASU submitted third party housing projects to renovate the current Ocotillo and Manzanita residence halls on Tempe campus.

UA submitted no new projects for consideration due to external limitations. The UA did update the Board on the Cancer Center project in Phoenix which is being looked at for possible partnerships in the project. The UA is also examining a student housing project to construct new available student residences without university funding along the proposed new streetcar line in Tucson.

All three university proposals passed without dissent and will be delivered to Gov. Brewer for further review. 

11:55 a.m. 

Representatives from NAU unveiled the five-year update of their master plan for campus construction, renovation, and development.

Adam Gross, an outside consultant, said that the major goal was to unify what is currently “”three separate campuses”” by expanding current parking structure capacity in order to create more open, expansive “”green spaces”” for student recreation. 

NAU would also update, and in some cases demolish and rebuild, several existing dormitories. 

Gross estimated that the cost would be around $1 million to $3 million annually over the life of the project, though Jane Kuhn, an NAU associate vice president, said that the plan was a “”road map”” and some details of funding and cost had not been finalized.

“”We have a great need to reinvest in the campus,”” said NAU President John Haeger. 

The plan was approved without dissent. 

11:25 a.m.

Morgan R. Olsen, ASU executive vice president and treasurer, said that while he was aware that institutions of higher education have a commitment to keeping costs low for students, that quality of education is just as important to ensure demand from prospective students.

Olsen also said that Arizona universities had secured over a quarter-billion dollars in private-public partnership funding over the last five years. 

“”The reality is that we do need to be able to pay for things,”” he said.  

11:16 a.m. 

ABOR Chair Mariucci implored the assembled panel to share their thoughts on what universities could do to secure new sources of revenue that they had never considered before, particularly in the face of what she referred to as “”Draconian”” compromises with Arizona. She also brought up the notion of privatizing portions of the universities and asked if that was a viable alternative for universities to consider. 

Most members of the panel would not discount that possibility. 

“”I don’t have a silver bullet that will solve all of our problems,”” said Jennus L. Burton, vice president for finance and administration at NAU. “”I do think that if you continue to look at public-private partnerships, I think that is the way of the future.”” 

ASU President Michael Crow stated ASU’s intention to privatize one of their colleges soon, though he did not specifically name which college it was. 

10:50 a.m.

The presentation is focusing on alternative revenue streams Arizona universities could explore in order to make up losses in state funding. These included suggestions of “”alternative financial structures”” such as restructuring debt, leasing existing assets, and taking out system revenue bonds. Speakers on the subject focused on how to secure these funding sources without a discernable negative impact on credit ratings at the three state institutions or committing to a revenue stream in the long term in order to secure short-term cash flow.  

10:26 a.m. 

The Board wrapped up several items in a short amount of time covering a wide array of topics, including approving the contract of ASU’s new men’s head baseball coach. An information item on Alternative Financing Vehicles has begun, and a summary of that presentation will follow upon its conclusion. 

10:02 a.m. 

Appointments to the new University Medical Center Corporation Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee of that Board, at the UA were approved unanimously.

UA President Shelton said that the new tone of cooperation and collaboration between distinct parties in the medical field was “”joyful to behold.””

ABOR Chair Mariucci raised some concerns over the lack of a clearly defined charter for the Executive Committee and requested a draft written charter be presented at the next Regents meeting. 

9:53 a.m.

The annual personnel report for the three universities was unanimously approved. 

9:49 a.m.

A motion to approve the state operating budgets was not seconded and the matter was tabled for future discussion. 

9:44 a.m.

Regent Chair Mariucci outlined her belief that the Regents must be unified in their proposals, and that it sends a mixed message to legislators for ASU to make a statement by not requesting enrollment growth funds when UA and NAU do.

“”We lose so much of our credibility and our voice and the power of our conviction,”” she said.

Vice-Chair Fred DuVal said that the current funding system is out of line with the goals set forth in previous funding years.

“”A funding formula is more than just a tool…it’s a reflection of the incentives that the legislators have set forth saying ‘this is what we want you to be, we want you to grow,'”” DuVal said. “”Perversely, we are now being punished for doing so.””  

9:36 a.m.

During discussions on the university’s operating budgets, ASU’s was highlighted because it did not request any funds for enrollment growth purposes, as opposed to both NAU and UA.

ASU President Michael Crow said “”The model is one in which it is based on enrollment growth, we have had so much enrollment growth with no funding it is clearly the fact that the model is no longer functional.”” He also advocated a system based on the performance of universities as opposed to unchecked growth, saying the current model approached “”pointless.””

“”I think what ASU has done here has put a significant stake in the ground regarding the positioning of the new funding formula,”” said ABOR chair Anne Mariucci.

But Regent Mark Killian wondered aloud whether or not requesting additional funds from the state for higher education (an additional 8.5 percent) would be a “”poke in the eye”” to some legislators.  

9:18 a.m.

After the six “”call to the audience”” speakers, four have already spoken on the Regents High Honors Endorsement (AIMS) Scholarship, and two others addressed S.B. 1070, imploring the Regents to take a “”firm”” stance on the bill citing its effects on students.  

8:58 a.m.

Everyone is getting settled here in the Turquoise Room of the Memorial Union at ASU. The meeting should start at 9:00 a.m. Notable absentees from the meeting are Gov. Jan Brewer and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne. 

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