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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Dead day decision

    ABOR’s dead-day tuition meeting sends a poor message to Arizona students

    This may be the last issue of the Wildcat for this semester, but that doesn’t mean important news for UA students will stop during finals and winter break. In fact, tomorrow, as students start scrambling for the inevitable onslaught of their final exams, the Arizona Board of Regents will make one of its most important decisions of the year: setting next year’s tuition rates for Arizona students.

    Besides planning the meeting for Christmas Eve or the day of the Territorial Cup game, we can’t think of a worse time to schedule the most important decision of the year for the students attending Arizona’s public universities. Thanks to ABOR’s tricky timing, this year’s inevitable tuition increase will likely pass with little hubbub or publicity, while the students the new policies will overwhelmingly affect study for finals, too busy to distract themselves with the important decision. That sends a terrible message to the students who the regents should rightfully serve.

    We can give thanks, at least, that the regents had the foresight to schedule tuition hearings in advance to consider the viewpoints of students. About 50 showed up to the hearing at UA last week, for a meeting telecast live between all three of Arizona’s public universities. Most of them opposed this year’s proposed pricing jump. In addition to the hearing turnout, thousands of UA students have filled out blue cards opposing this year’s tuition proposal. But no students will be heard at tomorrow’s meeting.

    More student voices this late in the game might not make a difference, but ABOR should hear them anyway. That’s why it’s too bad that even for those students who might be able to make it to the irregularly scheduled meeting, discussion of tuition is prohibited during the body’s Call to the Audience, under a rule that forbids public discussion of a “”proposed policy or rule for which a designated time to receive oral public comment”” has already been established. And whether or not student opinions will be heard or considered, information about the final decision could easily become just another part of the stressful haze of finals week. That sets a dangerous precedent for the most important decision of the year.

    We recognize that this is a year of fiscal crisis for the state of Arizona, and that expecting no increase in student tuition is a naive hope. But we hope that tomorrow, the regents will at least consider the overwhelming voice of students against the rising cost of college. The Arizona Students’ Association, created to articulate the views of Arizona university students, has asked for no more than a 5 percent tuition increase, if its proposal for a full freeze is rejected. That’s a sensible compromise – and a worthwhile hedge against an uncertain financial future for Arizona.

    Whatever the decision made tomorrow, check out the Wildcat’s online coverage of the tuition meeting between final exams this Friday. Don’t let ABOR’s scheduling shenanigans leave you ignorant about the full scale of this year’s tuition hike.

    OPINIONS BOARD: Editorials are determined by the Wildcat Opinions Board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Sarah Keeler and Connor Mendenhall.

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