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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Pride Night faces first cancellation

    Although the transformation process at the UA still seems to be in its infancy, the university’s budget cuts have already begun to have direct effects on campus.

    These effects include the cancellation of next semester’s Pride Night and the Graduate and Professional Student Council student showcase.

    Steven Bieda, president of GPSC, spoke out about the nature of the event and the potential future for similar student events.

    “”This is a really unfortunate happening,”” Bieda said. “”Students are really seeing the effect of budget problems, with tuition hikes and all of the other things we are seeing, but I think this is certainly an unfortunate event.””

    The annual student showcase, sponsored by GPSC, promotes graduate and undergraduate research projects by rewarding numerous students for their projects in certain categories, such as BIO5 innovation, public health and women’s studies.

    During October, more than 40 students were awarded in 14 categories, separated by graduate or undergraduate categories, with an award total of $7,600.

    Winners of each category were to present their projects to the state legislature in Phoenix during the university’s Pride Night on Feb. 24.

    “”The Pride Night and the student showcase go hand in hand,”” Bieda said. “”The nature of the showcase is to illustrate to the legislator what we are doing at the university and what one of the purposes of the university is. Many of the state legislators come from backgrounds that make it difficult for them to understand what is going on at the university, and the showcase is a way for us to represent ourselves to them and to show them what we are doing here.””

    According to Bieda, students may just be beginning to see the effects of budget cuts with this event’s cancellation. The student showcase is, in part, an appeal to state legislators and a medium that allows UA students to showcase their research. It also illustrates the work being done at the graduate and undergraduate level to those who are not affiliated with the university.

    “”Part of the nature of the student showcase is to show the legislators what we’ve been doing. To cancel that event is essentially to cancel our ability to speak directly to the legislation, which affects university funding,”” Bieda said. “”The cancellation of the showcase is really unfortunate, because we don’t get many opportunities to speak to the legislature and so we cherish every opportunity we get.””

    The student showcase was initiated in 1993 in conjunction with the university’s Pride Night and has managed to present their award winners to the legislature in Phoenix each year. Next semester’s Pride Night was the first to be canceled since its inception, a result which Bieda believes is related to the financial situation at the university.

    “”To my knowledge, the event has never been canceled before,”” Bieda said. “”Of course, this is just related to everything that has been going on at the university.””

    Although the event has been tentatively rescheduled for 2010, the winners of this year’s student showcase will not be able to present in Phoenix. Whether other student-sponsored events will continue to be canceled in light of financial constraints of the UA is unclear. However, when asked about the potential uncertainty of university events, Bieda said he believes that next year, “”things are only going to get worse.””

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