Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why you won't see Sally at the Jay-Z concert

While Tommy Bruce and the rest of the ASUA throw themselves a $1 million going-away party, Sallygradstudent will be at home, studying, which is what she came to graduate school to do. If you haven't already read Heather Price-Wright's criticism of the timing and context of ASUA's concert, check it out here:

Since Price-Wright's article was published on April 20th, she had no way of knowing how few tickets were actually sold as of this morningWe'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if the ASUA's lofty expectations of actually making money on this deal will come true, but as of this morning, it wasn't looking like the project would even break even:

Just for your reference: the $750,000 that is being paid to Jay-Z (one of the concert performers) could have paid the projected $1,100 tuition surcharge for 681 undergraduate students. Alternatively, it could have paid into a fund to assist struggling students to pay their tuition and fees in these tough economic times. It is just shocking how much ASUA gets away with. Check out this article about alledged elections fraud in the ASUA:

In other news, the ABOR will be meeting tomorrow and Friday to determine if proposed cuts will be finalized, to possibly approve tuitions increases and to solidify restructuring plans. The details on the meetings appear in the article. Several programs are up for elimination and several "administrative" positions, too.

The question is whether eliminating certain positions such as adjuncts and secretaries will really save money in the end. Adjuncts are relatively cheap labor and can sometimes put more time into teaching than other professors are able to do. Secretaries who really know what they are doing save time and energy for everyone: (ever had a message lost by a student worker?). Sometimes what looks cost-efficient is actually going to cost money in the long run.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A World Gone Mad

Lawmakers look to raid the reserve cash of the already suffering Arizona school districts to backfill the state budget shortfall:
"Officials of several school groups expressed strong concerns about the proposal. "

Since when are schools supposed to be funding the state? Isn't it the other way around. 600+ pink slips that went out in Tucson (TUSD) this semester. Those former employees will want to collect unemployment and won't be paying as many taxes as before, making the cycle worse, not better, and the school districts need some resources! How are they supposed to teach?

Rep. Carl Seel proposed this idea. Don't forget to send him an e-mail and tell him if you're opposed to it:, or call (602) 926-3018

Gov. Brewer's 100th day in office and still no budget:

"As Republicans panned the tax increase idea and started considering borrowing and other alternatives previously on the no-go list, Democrats tried to change the subject.
They called on Brewer to spell out a plan for solving a crisis that has led to state employees layoffs, funding cuts for safety-net programs and thousands of school teachers put on notice they may lose their jobs. "

This AP article somehow fails to mention the closed-door meeting and some Democrats' claims that the bulk of the legislature has been entirely excluded from these budget negotiations.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Yes, it's been a while

In the latest news:
Paltry turnout for the ABOR meeting on tuition: Some say it's apathy, but Sallygradstudent thinks it's weariness. How many meetings have we attended and been ignored?

The Tucson Citizen does a huge article on Provost Meredith Hay's first year at U of A:

Here's what we can't figure out: "The changes are already being launched, and by the fall, UA will look markedly different. There will be new schools and departments created by mergers and consolidations, and - courtesy of those massive state cuts - larger class sizes and more graduate assistants filling in for unfunded faculty lines."

We've heard that graduate student positions are being cut and class sizes increased.

What have you heard?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

$1,100 surcharge

According to the Tucson Citizen and a campus-wide memo sent by Pres. Shelton, a $1,100 surcharge may be added to next year's tuition (which, as you will recall, was already significantly increased by the Regents):
In the Wildcat:

One colleague of Sallygradstudent commented that two of her undergraduate students stated that they will not be able to afford to go to UA next semester because they already could barely afford the tuition increase, much less the surcharge.

What is most insulting is that the administration is calling this an 'economic recovery' surcharge, giving the false impression that this is somehow a plan to help students recover from the bad economy, not a way for the administration to 'recover' the funds lost from the state cuts. (Just read the comments after the Tucson Citizen article.)

In other news: "Class sizes worry GPSC". GATs and GPSC's President Bieda explain the inevitable snowball effect of cutting GATs. Fewer GATs= bigger classes, more time grading and less quality education for students and teachers alike:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Where to begin?

Pres. Shelton took some hard questions from the GPSC and members of the audience last night. More details to come (we were totally there), but for now, here's Shain Bergan's well-written article in the Wildcat:

By the way, our absolute favorite speaker of the night was Hope Jones, who explained that there are two President Sheltons, one who sticks up for us grads and one who is a politician.

In the Daily Star today Aaron Mackey reports on the $1,000 tuition surcharge proposed by Pres. Shelton:
As several graduate students explained last night at the GPSC meeting, what the money is called is almost as important as how much money is charged. Tuition waivers and fellowships would cover all or part of "tuition" surcharges, while they would not cover additional "fees". The semantics are almost as important as the economics.

Also, the audience received a copy of the proposed fee increases last night, including a utilities fee. As Sallygradstudent has said time and time again, there needs to be an immediate campus-wide utilities conservation program enacted. ASUA needs to pick this one up and get students to stop turning the air down to 55 degrees in classrooms, get the lights turned off at night, etc.
Get on the ball, ASUA!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Don't miss it!
Pres. Shelton will be at the GPSC meeting tonight, 6-8pm in Law 168!

*There will certainly be members of the press and other administrators at the meeting, so bring your outrage, but keep it professional.

In the news today:

TUSD hands out 600 pink slips:
For those of us who've always thought to ourselves, "If I get sick of this graduate school stuff, I could always teach high school", this is disappointing. More seriously, though, it means that the state of our public schools is in crisis. Students who don't have the education they deserve at the elementary and secondary levels are at high risk of either not making it to college, or not performing to their full potential in college, making everyone's jobs harder and further excluding valuable and inteligent students from academia.

TUSD blames this situation on the legislature's failure to act on the budget. Have you e-mailed, called or written to your legislators lately?

Pima Community College may raise tuition slightly:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saturday Night Live: "ASU, yes. U of A, no."

In case you missed it, SNL did an Obama stimulus parody this weekend and mentioned U of A.

(Go to about 1 minute 10 seconds left and you'll hear the reference).

It's funny, but in all seriousness, it should serve as a little reminder that the Arizona state legislature has the power to exclude us from benefiting from the stimulus package. When was the last time you e-mailed your represntative? (Links to appropriations committee members and to the azleg website are on the left-side column of this blog.) It takes about 30 seconds to give them a little piece of your mind and it feels pretty good to tell them about the importance of quality public education in our state.

News, News, News

GPSC elections results are in. You can read about outgoing president Bieda's statement and other exciting tidbits in the Daily Wildcat. Shain Bergan's reporting is sharp and accurate. He might be one of our new favorite journalists:

"It was not quite the drama voters have come to expect of student government - no one cried, unlike ASUA elections - but the Graduate and Professional Student Council elections last night yielded over 600 total votes, double the turnout of last year."

The faculty senate has voted to accept the majority of the proposed organizational changes to the university. A list is available in the article, although we think it reads about as easily as stereo instructions:

The local news for primary and secondary schools:

TUSD may lay off up to 600 people:
TUSD teachers plan an protest:

Arizona state lawmakers complain (and rightfully so) that they are being excluded from budget meetings and that a handfull of legislators is making the decisions for everyone. At the same time, no bills are being debated and passed, meaning that many of our elected officials are sitting around, waiting for something to do:

"A few people in leadership at the top are sitting in rooms, with the door closed, deciding the future of Arizona," said Rep David Schapira, D-Tempe. "The rest of us are just down here for show."

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Education Chief Says Don't Over do it on Cuts"

When you read the title of this Daily Star article, it seems like you're going to hear about the education chief telling the legislature not to over do it. Actually, it's the education chief telling the schools not to panic and accidentally cut too much. Teachers who have been given pink slips are, understandably, upset (for themselves and their students).

Rather than criticize the legislature for failing to take action, failing to re-organize their priorities, or Gov. Brewer for instructing schools to do exactly what they just did (behave as if they could receive up to a 60% cut), Tom Horne tells the schools not to panic.

Perhaps our legislature should re-prioritize and not be surprised when schools panic under the threat of up to 60% cuts. We need guidance, not cut-and-wait attitudes.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bad News, Good News

TUSD sends notices to over 500 teachers that they may not be re-hired next school year due to budget cuts from the state legislature:

8th graders don't let their age stop them from protesting the budget cuts effecting their schools. They use language arts class as an opportunity to learn about civic duty and persuasive writing while telling Gov. Brewer what they think of the budget cuts:

Friday, April 3, 2009

A message from the President

After so much silence from the administration, and resulting confusion in the campus community, Pres. Shelton released a statement today regarding the funding situation and the possible results of the stimulus bill. He reminds us that this bill will consist of temporary funding, not permanant funding (the kind that results in full-time jobs, etc).

Shelton says: "In closing, I come back to our "mantra" of quality. The UA is one of the premier research universities in the world. The people of Arizona deserve access to the educational opportunities we provide, the quality of life enhancements that result from our research and community outreach, and the economic gains that our federal research funding fuels."

Read the complete memo here:

Pres. Shelton is scheduled to attend the GPSC meeting Wednesday, April 8th, 6-8pm in Law 168. We suggest that you pressure him to give a clear answer about what exactly "quality" means.

If you want to speak at the meeting, e-mail: If you just want to attend, no reservation is necessary; it's free and open to the public, standing room only.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tuition cap debate

While the tuition taskforce in ABOR was able to squeak out a 6-5 vote recommending that tuition be uncapped (as the upper end of the lower 1/3 of its peer institutions), it may be that tuition stays capped.

ABOR set up an e-mail address to hear your opinions:

Apparently Tommy Bruce (ASUA president) is pretty upset about the vote. Maybe that million dollar concert he proposed wasn't actually the best idea... Want to tell him that?