The Arizona Desert Lamp


Posted in Campus, Politics by Connor Mendenhall on 6 December 2008

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. After rejecting a proposed $545 in-state tuition increase Thursday, the Arizona Board of Regents resurrected the plan, voted again, and gave our petulant President everything he asked for. From the Arizona Daily Star:

TEMPE — A day after rejecting UA President Robert Shelton’s plan to raise tuition and fees by $545, the Arizona Board of Regents acquiesced Friday to his price hike in an unprecedented reversal that one regent called “skullduggery.”

The maneuver to reconsider Thursday’s decision was punctuated by tense moments among regents, with some accusing others of manipulating the vote.

The change brings the total cost of attending the University of Arizona to $6,076 for in-state undergraduates. Shelton’s now-approved plan also guarantees that students returning in 2010 won’t see their tuition bills increase by more than 5 percent annually.

Longtime regent staff members said they couldn’t recall a previous time when the board set tuition and later reversed course. Friday’s shift came after several regents said they believed that Shelton was unfairly targeted while the state’s other two university presidents had their plans approved.

Thursday’s vote was narrow: 5-4 in favor of a reduced increase of $206. Friday’s vote swung to 6-3 in favor of the full increase. What happened?

For one thing, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, an ex officio voting member of the Board who customarily votes against tuition increases, missed the zombie vote on Friday. Meanwhile, Regent Fred DuVal, who was absent for Thursday’s meeting, arrived on Friday and cast a vote for Shelton’s increase. That would have been enough for the measure to pass, but one more member changed his vote: Student Regent David Martinez III.

In fact, Martinez didn’t just switch sides—he introduced the motion to reconsider. According to the Arizona Republic, Martinez “said other regents and student leaders convinced him the larger tuition package would be affordable and would provide predictability with the addition of a guaranteed-tuition program.” That’s right, Wildcats: the same fellow who said he was “really looking forward to serving students” as a Regent is the one who fought to disinter a dead vote and raise your tuition bill. 

Regents Ernest Calderon, Anne Mariucci, and Dennis DeConcini again voted against the proposal, and were none too happy about the do-over. DeConcini said his colleagues were trying to “stack the vote” and called the incident “skullduggery.” Mariucci said the board was “railroading and manipulating rules” and told Regent President Fred Boice that she was “appalled by this execution of governance.”

Rightfully so. This is an unprecedented and nasty trick that undermines the legitimacy of an already-dubious tuition setting process. Skullduggerer-in-Chief Martinez and the “student leaders” that convinced him to capitulate ought to be ashamed.



12 Responses

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  1. cem said, on 6 December 2008 at 4:28 pm

    I disagee … it was unfair of Regent Mariucci to single UofA out with her Thursday vote. To allow the two other schools to have 10 and 14 percent increases, but restrict UofA to 3 percent is unprecedented (and suspicious). Even with Shelton’s increase, UofA’s tuition is lowest. I appreciate that level heads reconsidered and voted again on Friday to make the vote fair across the board. If Regent Deconcini’s proposal of an equal, but small, increase had passed for all 3 schools, that would have been deemed fair also. Clearly, the original vote singled UofA out for political punishment.

  2. […] non-victory that we got at the Arizona Board of Regents this weekend. Connor, of course, was on this way back on Saturday; but the Wildcat’s Nikolas Seibel gets in some good reporting as well, […]

  3. […] can thank your student regent for reversing this year’s tuition decision to push through the now irrelevant five percent […]

  4. […] unanswered: where was the proposal to substitute transparent fees for opaque tuition in 2008, when Student Regent David Martinez brought the motion to increase tuition to the ABOR floor? Where were these arguments in 2007, when tuition was hiked and President Tommy […]

  5. […] Martinez – David Martinez! – led things off by wondering why  students who are getting the same services should […]

  6. […] Same as it ever was. Tagged with: David Martinez III, Fees, Robert Shelton, Transparency, Tuition Surcharge no comments yet « Markets in everything, commencement edition […]

  7. […] figure for pushing student interests in ABOR is the student regent, who advocates for students, except when he doesn’t. Rather than attempting to build a coalition involving Republicans that might support less of a […]

  8. […] to approve the surcharges, and Regent Martinez must be commended for voting against the proposal. Better late than never, I suppose. Tagged with: ABOR, Arizona Board of Regents, David Martinez III, Tuition no […]

  9. […] David Martinez III […]

  10. […] we’ve already seen here, student regents can overcome their tendencies against tuition hikes rather quickly. However, it is likely that tuition-payers would push much harder for cuts and program reforms than […]

  11. […] ASUA Senate Meeting, 16 Sep 2009: Cars With Guns Posted in Uncategorized by Evan Lisull on 16 September 2009 1. Student Regent Selections. David Martinez III, former student regent and current UA campus organizer for ASA, presented a PowerPoint presentation on “ASA 101.” The presentation included brief bios of current regents and basic historical info, although it failed to include the slide describing how to re-introduce motions to increase tuition. […]

  12. […] a result, Arizona students get a student regent, but he turns out to be their worst enemy. UA students have control over their student section (quite the anomaly), but their money is used […]

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