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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Editorial: Proposed budget cuts devalue universities

Last Wednesday, in front of thousands of UA students, Gov. Jan Brewer wished the best for her friend, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. She praised the care from doctors at University Medical Center, and paid her respects to UA alumnus John Roll, a federal judge who graduated from the James E. Rogers College of Law.

Then, just days later, she proposed a state budget that demanded a 20 percent cut to funding of universities. Nearly half of the funding to community colleges was also cut.

Based on this budget proposal, the UA would lose $66.6 million. The UA has already dealt with losing $100 million in state budget cuts since 2008. Federal stimulus money filled in some of the gaps, the university cut 600 jobs and increased tuition and fees to make up for the rest.

In an article from the Arizona Daily Star, Brewer’s budget director, John Arnold, said the 20 percent cut would not be as significant as it sounds because schools have other sources of revenue, like tuition. But, he said, this did not necessarily mean there would be a hike in what students pay. He also said the hike would definitely not come in taxes, other than the one-cent raise in sales tax that voters approved last May.

He did not say where the hike would be, calling it a “”discussion we have to have.””

Arnold’s “”discussion”” ought to include how much of a contribution the UA makes to Tucson, and how valuable higher education in general is to a state.

There are no easy decisions when faced with a $1.1 billion deficit, and we are all required to make sacrifices during times of economic turmoil. But it would appear that some of us are being forced to make bigger sacrifices than others.

At this point, it is purely speculative to say that Jared Loughner’s declining mental health could have been caught and treated much earlier if Pima Community College had more funding and resources available for him. But it’s hard not to wonder: When institutions of higher education are strapped for cash and pressed to become more “”efficient,”” who suffers the most?

Brewer’s words of kindness last Wednesday were appreciated, but what people really need is an attempt to protect state universities and community colleges from further budget cuts. Tucson is, to its core, a college town. The ongoing effort to recover from last Saturday’s tragedy has demonstrated how vital a vibrant UA community is to Tucson.

Without the brilliant work of the doctors at UMC and the outpouring of support from UA students in the form of vigils and angels, the struggle to move forward from last Saturday would be an even harder one.

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by one of its members. They are Kristina Bui, Ken Contrata, Michelle A. Monroe and Heather Price-Wright. They can be reached at

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