Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Could be worse.....Oh, wait. It is.

Thanks to pressure from student groups such as ASUA and GPSC, fees increases were limited to approximately $310 for next year. GPSC is still working on getting some of that remitted for GATs and GRAs, but no firm deal has been released in writing yet.

The Regents have mandated that all three universities reduce their payroll expenses by 2.75% before the end of the fiscal year. ASU has proposed program consolidations and cuts, while UA has been pretty quiet on the matter. According to Becky Pallack of the AZ Star, the total amount is about $5 million. No one is sure what this will mean to UA GATs and GRAs. We've already taken an effective pay cut through increased fees!

President Shelton will be at GPSC tonight at 6pm in Law 168 if you want to ask him to explain his plan (whatever it may be). E-mail the assembly chair to reserve your spot to speak:

GPSC elections are going on right now. If you don't vote, don't complain later. For all the bitching we do, we have an embarassingly low voter turn out. If you care about your salary, health care, remission, etc. then you should be able to take 30 seconds to click a few buttons and vote: Click on your college.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Last-Minute Back-Tracking

Pres. Shelton changed his tuition and fees proposal yesterday, on the eve of the tuition decision by ABOR (going on right now!). The long and short of it is that his tuition recommendations came down a little and he advocated for phasing in the fee increases over the next two years rather than all at once. This still leaves the almost $700 proposed fee increase to be implemented by 2012.

From our perspective, this means:
1) Shelton is responding to pressure from ASUA, GPSC and other student organizations.
2) Shelton is trying to make a quick compromise that benefits his plan right before the regents vote so that student leaders have little time to respond.
3) If he is willing to bring down the fee amounts, at least for one year, this supports the GPSC's assertion that the fee amounts proposed initially are inappropriate and poorly researched.

We'll know the results in a couple of hours, since ABOR is voting on these increases at 9:30am today.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fee Vigil

A last-minute vigil has been called to protest fees in front of the Admin. Building from 7-9 tonight. The organizers are asking participants to bring candles and to wear white tops to symbolize peace.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


ASUA elections are going on right now: Graduate and undergraduate students have the right to vote in the elections, and although most of the spots are uncontested, we do have one suggestion: Katherine Weingartner for VP. She has a lot of experience and is generally outspoken on the council, especially when ASUA is trying to waste money. Connor Mendenhall of the Mad Fee Party on Facebook has endorsed Jarrett Benkendorfer and Trevor Hill for senate, citing their support for referendums on fees rather than surveys.

GPSC elections are coming up and you have until the end of the week to submit candidacy forms for VP and representatives by college. If you don't run for office, at least make sure to vote.

Prop 100 is gaining facebook support. It would implement a one-cent sales tax, which would bring in support for education and other public program funding. Whatever you do, don't forget that joining a facebook group is not the same as actually showing up to the polls to vote.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


As you have no-doubt heard, David Talenfeld has resigned from the GPSC presidency, citing his inability to advocate on behalf of his constituents because of his distinct view points. Expressing that he would rather leave than remain a "stubborn impediment" to change, he stepped down. And yet, Talenfeld was more than an impediment to GPSC; he was a competitor.

You may remember his letter to the Wildcat, which initially led many gradstudent organizations to question his willingness to represent his constituents. In that letter, he referenced everyone from JFK to Martin Luther King, Jr. in an effort to persuade readers to blindly accept the proposed tuition and fee hikes (exactly contrary to the GPSC statement he had been advocating for elsewhere).

Top that with his embarrassing and unexplained absence from the Arizona Board of Regents meeting and you have total disaster for the GPSC's image. For all of these reasons, it is no small miracle that David Lopez-Negrete was able and willing to step in and take over the lead. Now, more than ever, graduate and professional students need a leader that will not put administrator's opinions over the needs of the constituents.

The Rec Center

Assistant VP Frank Farias came to present the Rec's case to GPSC. Prefacing his statement with the perception that he wouldn't succeed in changing GPSC's mind on fees at all, he still tried to do just that. Unfortunately, the questions and answers went around in circles. Farias himself said that the Rec is in a financial reality and that someone has to pay for it. Having taken over only a few months ago, he admited that the 'books' are a disaster and that he's doing a full audit to find out where the waste has been all these years. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to justify the amount requested by the rec, even admitting that he wasn't sure whether it was too much or too little. When pressed to explain, he stated that they know they need money, but have no idea how much.

Should we just write a check to the rec center and instead of a number, write "more" for the amount? How can students be asked to pay for something when they don't even know how much money they need?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

AZ Tuition Hikes Make National News!

The ABOR meeting last night was standing room only, even in the extra over-flow room, where attendees could watch the proceedings on a video screen. Students voiced their outrage at the huge tuition and fee hikes. Unfortunately, only 8 of the 48 audience members signed up to speak actually were able to make it to the microphone. Forty-five minutes of the two-hour meeting were taken up with administrators and student representatives from the various campuses giving their statements, leaving little time for the public to comment.

Luckily, you can still contact the regents:
Arizona Board of Regents
2020 North Central Ave., Ste. 230
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 229-2500

One of the highlights was definitely Connor Mendenhall's statement (he is the administrator for the Mad Fee Party on Facebook:"Four years ago, when I entered the University of Arizona as a freshman, I paid $85 in mandatory fees. Should you approve President Shelton’s latest fee proposals, students like me will pay $873–a tenfold increase in just four years."

But our absolute favorite part of Connor's statement was: "No student in the state of Arizona should be denied access to public education because he cannot afford to pay for a gym membership, organic fruit in the student union, or plasma-screen televisions in the library."

Did we make it on the news? Oh, yeah.

The AZ Star's Becky Pallack's article emphasizes the outrage: "Students said they were "disappointed," "shocked" and "irate" at tuition and fee increases proposed for the three state universities."

The Wildcat's Article isn't half bad either. Check out the sign: "Fee Hikes are Pay Cuts for GATs and GRAs."

And now it has made the national news!!! Check out the New York Times article from the Associated Press: "Chris Campos, a philosophy sophomore at UA, said the proposed 31 percent increase is ''nothing short of criminal.'' "

Fox 11 news calls the tuition hikes: "whopping," "astronomical" and the "highest in history."

Apparently a lot more of it made it onto the 10 o'clock news, but we haven't been able to find the video yet. If you get a find it, please e-mail us the link!