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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Editorial: Professors should be lenient with students attending protest

    With more than 2,000 students expected to show up at today’s protest at the Arizona State Capitol, UA professors face an interesting dilemma: Should they grant academic clemency to students who skip class to attend the protest?

    We agree that this decision should be left up to individual professors. It’s certainly outside the role of the UA deans to sanction a protest, however righteous the cause. It would also hurt the integrity of the protest were it to be seen as an institutionally sponsored venture, rather than the spontaneous effort of indignant individuals.

    That said, we urge professors to take a generous attitude toward students who choose to give up a day of their academic career in order to fight for the life of their university. We believe this is every bit as much a faculty issue as a student issue. If anything, professors – who will presumably be hanging around the university longer than most students -ÿhave a far greater stake in ensuring the university’s survival than most of the students who will be attending the protest.

    Of course, it remains to be seen how many UA students will wind up making the two-hour trek to Phoenix. Judging from the spirited local reaction -ÿabout one thousand students and faculty trudged out to the Mall for the Jan. 20 protest, and 900 attended Thursday’s Arizona Board of Regents meeting, the largest to ever do so -ÿthere’s certainly enough interest for a hefty turnout.

    It’s worth asking why so many students have reacted so strongly to the threat of a 40 percent cut in education funding. The answer may well be that we actually took to heart all that boilerplate stuff our elected leaders have been telling us for years about the value of a good education, and its importance in ensuring a strong economy.

    Perhaps they didn’t count on us actually listening to it. As Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Tommy Bruce told the Daily Wildcat last week, “”Can you imagine how disheartening it is for students to hear that their elected officials don’t believe in the value of their education?””

    We listened because it was true: educating future citizens is important to ensuring a healthy economy. Cutting off one of the main sources of wealth and growth in order to thwart an economic downturn is like jumping out of a plane to get to your destination faster. It might work, but you’ll probably regret it.

    That so many students regard their university as worth fighting for, even divorced from their own interest in keeping it in good health, says more about school spirit than the last 10 Homecoming games put together. Even if they won’t be in college in five years, it matters to them whether their alma mater will be thriving or gasping for air.

    In economics, that’s called taking the long-term over the short-term view. In layman’s terms, it’s called doing the right thing.

    While we’d discourage anyone from missing class today if their instructors proved intractable on the subject, we hope that won’t be the case with too many of them. And for those of you who opt to stay in class, take lots of notes: That class might not be there next year.

    Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Cody Calamaio, Justyn Dillingham, Taylor Kessinger, Heather Price-Wright, and Nickolas Seibel.

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