The Arizona Desert Lamp

Shelton: screw transparency – it’s all about the benjamins

Posted in Campus, Politics by Evan Lisull on 10 April 2009

Shelton and CashSlightly confused reporting here, but it’s not entirely the reporter’s fault:

A proposal that would add a $1,000 “economic recovery surcharge” to students’ tuition was considered at Thursday’s meeting of the Arizona Board of Regent’s Tuition Task Force.

The fee, which UA President Robert Shelton proposed to the board, is being looked at as a more effective way, than relying on federal stimulus money, to replace the $77 million permanent cut to the university’s state appropriations.

. . .

Shelton said he has recommended a tuition surcharge, instead of a fee, in order to allow students who receive tuition scholarships, to maintain their funding levels. The health affairs schools will incur the only additional fees.

“What we are looking at, is trying to find necessary dollars to enhance our ability to serve these students in these difficult times and those dollars would be applied, whether they’re called tuition or fees, to maintaining those services that students feel are most important,” he said.

Way back on March 30 – almost a whole week ago! – the Tucson Citizen reported the following:

The University of Arizona is looking at adding more student fees or increasing existing fees but is not looking at a tuition surcharge. [emphasis added – EML]

And four weeks ago  – ancient history, but bear with me -the Wildcat reported that President Shelton was seriously looking at implementing specified fees:

“It’s a question of balance,” Shelton said. “The balance between what the state is willing to invest in the universities and what we have to ask the students and their families to invest.”

Proposed fees include increased utility fees, mandated employee expenses, student health and wellness, academic advising, information technology and library fees.

Since that time, President Shelton has backed further and further away from transparent policy, and more towards vacuous proposals like “additional revenue streams” – a phrase that could be applied equally to increasing fees, raising tuition, or cutting a deal with the Mexican Mafia. This is why he can blithely say, “. . .and those dollars would be applied, whether they’re called tuition or fees,” ignoring entirely the rhetorical games of the past few months, arguing that fees are better than tuition, because they don’t end up in the state’s general coffer and they’re completely controlled by students. That argument was bullshit, and now it is being exposed as such. It never has been, nor will it ever be, about the students.

There are three weeks left until the ABOR hears President Shelton’s proposal, and not one person outside of the cognoscenti has any idea what exactly he will propose. Let me be so bold as to suggest that this is by design; and so the proposal will suddenly materialize out of thin air, present itself to the Regents, and get approved. Students will rage for a few days, but it won’t matter – it’s already old history, and you’re paying a $1,000 extra, regardless of how often you use these “services” that are so important.

Don’t look to your student leadership for help either:

UA Student Regent David Martinez III said student advocates plan to work with the board to establish tuition at a reasonable level that maintains the quality of the three institutions.

“We are more than willing – student advocates are – to work in the spirit of shared governance with the university administration and regents to ensure that we, as a team, can weather this storm together so that when we do come out of this storm our universities maintain the quality and the excellence that students deserve,” he said.

Same as it ever was.

One Response

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  1. […] Shelton’s move was about money. But the counter-move, led by the Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs Center, is a distinctly […]

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