Monday, September 7, 2009

Where We Stand

The purpose of this website was clearly defined at the outset. Its mission is focused on “concern about administrative abuse of power at the UA” and the need to provide a “safe place to discuss these issues without fear of retaliation.” We do not, and cannot, represent all points of view. People wishing to attack our point of view or who want to support the alleged abuses under discussion here, may do so elsewhere - the administration has plenty of resources for defending itself, including its own Media Relations Director for University Communications. All we have is this blog. Therefore, we will continue to focus on three main issues at the core of our mission:

1) The Right to Disagree, without punishment, reprisals, or threats;

2) Board of Regents review of the firings and threats reported here and in the media, and a moratorium on further negative personnel actions and program closures until completion of that review;

3) General Education: Control of Gen Ed being taken away from the faculty, and taken over by the Provost’s office, entails a fundamental redefinition of the core mission of the University of Arizona without adequate input.

However, in an effort to accommodate differing points of view, we may occasionally post “attack comments” from the other side of the table, on a temporary basis, before removing them to allow space for comments that represent our core mission, as summarized above and defined in more detail on the website. Space is short, time is limited, we cannot post anything and everything we receive. Selectivity is not censorship; our selection criteria are clearly stated below.


  1. Agreed. You're not a newspaper, and your site is meant to argue a point.

  2. We will respond to the several comments we have gotten like the one above since we made the "Where We Stand" posting (some, like this one, politer than others).As we said, "we do not, and cannot, represent all points of view." We will focus on our core issues. We will publish some thoughtfully presented opposing points of view, especially those that are signed, present evidence supporting their view or clearly state that this is opinion. In fact, such opinions have been published and remain on the site now. Please note, we have also promised to publish some "attack comments" for periods of time. We will, however, be selective. We will not publish numerous negative opinions that say essentially the same thing, just as we have not published many similar supportive comments. Space is tight and the blog must remain accessible and easy to navigate.

  3. I would add to the list of demands that someone do a review of the money trail.

    The administration takes money from tuition and state allocations--money that should go toward students--and gives it to research scientists.

    There are two universities emerging: the research that happens in isolated pockets aaround campus and the "teaching ghetto" where most of the students dwell.

    This is not right, and it is especially not right that it happens without public awareness and comment. We are in a "public" university! We are always hearing about all the money the research scientists bring in--if that is the case, why can't they support themselves and stop stealing from students and their parents?

  4. Student, as faculty were told today, the College that teaches the most student credit hours is the College of Science. All Colleges teach, and the COS also happens to be a major home for research scientists. State dollars should go to Colleges that teach.

    You are also mistaken about research, money is not being taken out of teaching and put into the pockets of research scientists. Research scientists use grant money to conduct science, not state dollars. Grant money mostly obtained by competing at the National level, not against local colleagues

  5. I believe what was said is that there are several ways to measure who teaches the most student hours, depending on how you measure. College of Science teaches a lot of credit hours, so does Humanities and SBS and who comes in first depends on how you're measuring. They are all teaching colleges so why should they be cut differently? Also, grant money is used to conduct research, not to teach undergraduates. It was also stated at the meeting that College of Science spends more than it brings in grant support so the differential cuts are taking money away from teaching students.

  6. I must say that Anonymous two comments above is wrong on several accounts. So wrong that it is proof of the culture of misinformation people in the professional and hard science programs have been so good had spreading.

    This last week the Arizona Daily Star stated that the 12 million to hire new research scientists (and to cover their start-up costs) will come in part from raising tuition and from the stimulus money that was supposed to protect students. SO: tuition dollars going to research scientists. We all know that these research scientists require enormous start-up costs and that even once they bring in grants they rely on STATE DOLLARS to hire people to do things like maintain and operate the linear accelerators and to pay at least part of the salaries of the professors and their support staff. These people may teach one class a semester at most, and the money they bring in does not support the rest of campus.

    We also all know that programs like Engineering would be in deep trouble if they had to rely on their student credit hours to rely on supporting their programs. They don't have the students so they have to be "subsidized" by other programs.

    If the tuition revenue followed the students the College of Humanities would not be looking at any cuts this year. We are one of the most efficient teaching units on campus and yet we are getting 7 % of the cuts. If the tuition dollars were to follow the Writing Program, which teaches around 13,000 freshman a year, the Writing Program would see its budget grow this coming year. So yes, that money is being stolen out of the pockets of students and given to other functions on campus, mostly nonteaching functions.

    Students and parents should be pissed off not just because this is happening but because it is happening behind their backs.

  7. State dollars to hire staff? On which planet? ALL the people in my lab (and every lab I know) are on soft money, so you clearly have a warped view on research labs.
    Be careful what you state, fact COS teaches more SCH than anybody else. I am not in the COS and was as surprised by this as anybody.
    But I trust the facts were correct.

  8. University budget (approx 1.2 billion)

    STATE dollars approx 25% and shrinking
    Tuition approx 10%
    Grants, contracts, and other 65%

  9. As the person who provided the data on SCH I need to note the following:

    COS does indeed generate more SCH than any other college, but

    COS has quite a few more faculty, so the absolute numbers by themselves are indeed misleading. Trouble is there is no agreed-upon "value-neutral" way to interpret the data.

    One possibility is to ask what are the national norms for teaching loads in different disciplines (since we have to recruit in the market) and then ask whether our faculty in these disciplines are teaching more or less than the norms. I'm trying to get those data as we speak.

    Lynn Nadel