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UA faculty and staff unhappy with re-entry plan

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TUCSON (KVOA) - On Monday the University of Arizona faculty senate, a group of elected faculty representatives, along with President Robert Robbins and administrators held a meeting to discuss the university's re-entry plan.

Three major topics took over the three-hour-long discussion, the plans for furloughs to save money for the university, the re-entry plan for the fall and the Ashford deal acquiring the online university.

Members of the faculty senate questioned whether or not the Ashford acquisition, which is an online university that would increase their global campus program, is beneficial for the university.

Leadership said that it could bring revenue to U of A, which would help mitigate losses due to the pandemic.

"I think the Ashford deal could flow money back into the university that could be used to lessen the pain of our financial crisis, including decreasing the time of the furlough," said Dr. Robert Robbins, University of Arizona President.

As far as furloughs are concerned, if the university goes forward with the current plan, more than 25 percent of staff and 38 percent of faculty have said they would seek new employment.

"It is one of the most draconian furlough plans ever in the history of the United States and it's far and away worse than any of our peers," said Celeste Gonzales de Bustamante, member of CAJUA, associate professor U of A.

For the re-entry planning, the criteria for going into phases of opening or closing if the pandemic worsens are not currently publicly available.

President Robbins said he would be open to sharing this information and making it available for debate, his main concern was making sure guidelines are followed on campus.

"We're concerned that all of the burden is being placed on students. Then, if the plan fails the students will be blamed but the University of Arizona will have already gotten all of the tuition dollars it needs from these students by labor day," said Bustamante.

Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. the Coalition for Academic Justice, which includes University professors and graduate students, will hold a press conference at Old Main in response to the meeting.

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Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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