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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    CORRECTION: SFS members saddened by resignation of coordinator Chet Phillips

    Monique Irish

    Jacqueline Maximillian, the new Students for Sustainability interim course director, at a meeting on March 29. Maximilian took over after Chet Phillips’ resignation last week.

    EDITORS NOTE: This is a corrected version of a previously published story. It’s contents have been edited due to factual inaccuracies. 

    A recent story published on headlined “SFS club members saddened by resignation of director Chet Phillips” was accidentally published prior to being edited, and thus contained relatively significant factual and grammatical errors.

    We have since removed the story from the homepage and section fronts of our website and deleted the related social media posts. This annotated and corrected version will live in the original post’s page to serve as a correction. 

    *Editor’s note: This page was briefly removed from our website while these corrections were implemented. 

    Below is the original article, annotated with the appropriate corrections.

    *Editor’s note: The original headline inaccurately stated that SFS is a “club” when in fact it is a program within the university. It also stated that Phillips is the “director” of the program when he is actually the coordinator. 

    An email was sent out to members of the Students for Sustainability program on March 24, announcing that Chet Phillips, their coordinator for nearly three years, had resigned.

    *Sent from the co-directors’ account and signed by all three co-directors, literacy, learning, and leadership senior Stephanie Choi, and environmental science seniors Trevor Ledbetter and Cole Pihl, the letter addressed that the news might be a “shock” to some members.

    *Corrected paragraph:
    Sent and signed by all three SFS co-directors, English and Literacy, Learning and Leadership senior Stephanie Choi, Environmental Science and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology senior Trevor Ledbetter and Environmental Science senior Cole Pihl, the letter addressed that the news might be a “shock” to some members. 

    “During this season of change, we want to note how incredibly thankful we are for all that Chet has contributed to the position, our program and our lives as students over the years that he has been a part of Students for Sustainability,” the email read.

    SFS is focused on empowering students, building students into leaders and working toward institutional sustainability at UA as well as in the community.

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    SFS has roughly 100 interns split between its 10 committees, which include Hydrocats, Environmental Art and Environmental Health. SFS also works with Compost Cats and other organizations both on and off campus.

    The email assured students they would be kept informed of developments, and that student interest would continue to be a priority as they worked to move forward with new advisement for the program and course. The co-directors offered to answer any questions or address any concerns students had.

    The email also introduced the interim course instructor *and program director, Jacqueline Maximillian. Maximillian is an assistant professor of practice in the Soil, Water and Environmental Science Department. Prior to working at UA, she studied at the University of Idaho, where she got her Ph.D. in natural resources. SFS does hope to hire a new, full-time coordinator over the summer break.

    *Correction: Jacqueline Maximilian is only stepping in as the interim course director. She is not also the interim program director. 

    The co-directors released a joint statement about Phillips’ resignation, saying that they and more than 150 students involved with SFS and Compost Cats were deeply saddened by the resignation.

    “Chet believed, and continues to believe that student empowerment and leadership are the fundamental qualities needed to create justice through sustainability projects here at the University of Arizona and the wider Tucson community,” the statement said.

    The co-directors also mentioned that resigning was not what Phillips had ultimately wanted, but that “some built-up internal circumstances at the University made him feel as if this was the only plausible option for him.”

    Phillips had asked to remain with the program until the end of the semester at the very least, and preferably until the end of the fiscal year on June 30 to ensure a smooth and simple transition, but will not be able to occur.

    “Higher ups accepted his resignation and moved swiftly to make it effective less than a week after he submitted it,” the statement said. “Many of us were shocked and hurt by this.”

    RELATED: UA students walk out in protest of President Trump’s climate change vision

    While the program has been *scrambling to operate smoothly without their supervisor, the co-directors said what Phillips taught them has aided them more than anything else, and that without those skills, the program would have been in real trouble.

    *Correction: The adjective “scrambling” should have been replaced with “working” in the editing process. 

    “In light of all of this, we are persevering and using all of the skills and tools Chet has taught us over the years to move forward with our mission to empower students through sustainability leadership,” the statement said.

    Initially flustered by the speed of the acceptance of Phillips resignation, the co-directors followed up by saying they have been working with parties within Associated Students of the University of Arizona and the Dean of Students Office to better understand and cope with the situation.

    “We are happy that the Dean of Students, Kendal Washington-White, is giving us four student positions on the search committee to hire Chet’s replacement, and is working with us to re-think and restructure how sustainability functions at the University,” the statement said.

    With that in mind, the co-directors remain hopeful for the future of their program and for sustainability as a whole.

    “For us, Chet is irreplaceable and we will miss him deeply, but we are hopeful for the future of sustainability here at UA,” the statement said.

    Phillips was not immediately available for comment. Nor was Maximillian, as she is working to become familiar with her new role.

    Follow Marissa Heffernan on Twitter.

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