White House event cancelled over admissions debate

By CHELO GRUBB

Controversy over Pima Community College’s new admissions policy has postponed a White House Hispanic Community Action Summit.

The summit, which will bring White House officials and leaders from federal agencies to discuss jobs, education, health care and immigration with local leaders, was scheduled for Oct. 15 at Pima’s West Campus.

When PCC announced that the summit would be held at the college, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Tucson, began receiving phone calls from Tucsonans who were unhappy with the location.

Grijalva said many members of the Hispanic community expressed concern that “Pathways to Pima,” PCC’s new admissions policy, would adversely affect the Hispanic community, and therefore made Pima an inappropriate location for the summit

The new policy will require applicants to test at a seventh grade mathematic, reading and writing level. Those who test below seventh grade will be referred to a 10-week, $33 remedial program before being allowed to take college courses.

Grijalva’s office advised those who called with concerns to contact the White House, which is where details of the summit had been decided.

Grijalva said he then got a call from the White House, during which he explained the Pima conflict and was told the summit was being put on hold in order to avoid any controversy.

PCC vice chancellor and spokesman C.J. Karamargin then got a call saying the summit was being put on hold after Grijalva complained to the White House about Pima’s admissions policy.

Grijalva, who has come out in opposition to the new admissions standards, said he was just happy the summit would be held at a local educational institution.

“The fight was secondary to the fact it was in Tucson,” Grijalva said.

Karamargin said PCC was honored to be selected to host the event, and he feels that Tucson is an ideal place to hold one of the summits, because people in the area are concerned about civil discourse.

He said that the college has put a lot of work into preparing for the summit and is hoping the event will happen at Pima.

“We are ready, willing and able to move forward when the White House gives us the green light,” Karamargin said.

Grijalva has been in contact with the White House, and says that the summit will take place somewhere in Tucson.

“The summit will be in Tucson,” Grijalva said.

“Issues of venue will be discussed, and they’ll keep us informed.”

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