By ANDREW PAXTON
Pima Community College has seen a few disruptive student incidents this semester, reminding students and employees of the need to stay alert and aware of their surroundings.
On April 5, a fighting incident was reported at East Campus. Additional information about the incident was not available before Aztec Press went to the printer.
On April 2, a male student was roaming around West Campus, hurling obscenities and yelling about his rights being violated, according to witnesses.
The student made his way from the Free Speech courtyard through the cafeteria and into the Student Life office.
He continued shouting, and witnesses reported his eyes appeared glazed over.
“Everybody was scared to death,” said a student who wished to only be identified as Connie.
“He was getting in people’s faces and swinging his arms. I almost got hit,” she said.
The disruptive student left the Student Life room with college officials pursuing him and calling for police, according to Student Life Coordinator Jennifer Wellborn.
Police detained the student and ended up bringing him past the Aztec Press newsroom in handcuffs.
Staffers observed the student shouting obscenities while vomiting in a trash can as officers restrained him.
He continued shouting and cursing as several officers quickly rushed him down a hallway toward their substation, located on the north side of campus.
The incident was not cataloged in the Daily Clery Log that is distributed by the college. It is unclear if the student was charged with a crime or suspended from the college.
PCC police chief Manny Armado was not available for comment about the incident.
On Feb. 10, a student became disruptive in class at West Campus after the instructor asked her to put away a laptop.
The student became verbally abusive and shouted obscenities, according to statements from the police report.
The instructor asked the student to leave class following a second disruption, but she refused. This prompted the instructor to call campus police from her office. Police dispatchers could hear the student yelling in the background, according to the report.
The student was cited for disorderly conduct and suspended from the college.
On Feb. 5, a female student called the health clinic at West Campus screaming and accusing the clinic of failing to call in her prescription, according to a police report.
The student called the clinic the next day and continued harassing the staff, including using racial slurs and obscenities.
She was initially charged with disorderly conduct and suspended from PCC, but both were dropped following the clinic’s desire to handle the matter internally.
On Feb. 3, a domestic violence disorderly conduct incident was reported at East Campus, and an arrest was made, according to police logs released by PCC.
Of the 120 on-campus incidents PCC police have responded to from Jan. 1 through April 5, five have involved disorderly or disruptive students.
By NICK MEYERS
Although Pima Community College is under a 60-day suspension from enrolling veterans using veteran aid programs, officials are confident the problems will be addressed.
A letter from the Arizona Veterans Education & Training Approving Agency detailed numerous accounts of negligent record keeping that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has brought to the college’s attention in previous years.
Pima created an action plan to handle the discrepancies, but it was never implemented.
This is the first time that DVA and VETAA have imposed these sanctions on Pima.
While the approximately 1,300 veterans currently enrolled at Pima are not in danger of losing their government aid, new veterans cannot apply to the college before the sanctions are lifted.
While few veterans who plan on attending the college in the future have inquired about the sanctions, Pima officials have been assuring veterans that the sanctions are nothing to worry about.
“It’s just a suspension, that’s all it is,” said Constance Strickland, program coordinator for the Student Veterans Association. “They say we have 60 days but it could only take 40.”
The letter received by Pima says the suspension will not be lifted before VETAA’s scheduled inspection in June or July.
The college has a plan to fix the problems by May 20.
Pima student Adrienne Lujan, a Navy veteran who served six years and is currently secretary- treasurer of the Student Veteran Association, is not worried about the suspension.
“It doesn’t affect currently enrolled veterans,” she said. “So everyone who is here now is safe.”
However, current veterans enrolled at PCC are barred from switching from pre-approved degree programs. They also risk not being able to complete their programs if VETAA revokes the college’s certification permanently.
Lambert, a former service member, said he takes the situation seriously and has made a priority of finding a solution to the negligent record keeping.
“This issue is personal for me,” Lambert said in a press release. “My father was career military and I am proud to have served my country in the U.S. Army. We are obligated to do the best job we can in serving those who served.”
Some of these issues were brought to the college’s attention by a VA audit in 2012 and most recently in December 2013.
While the college created an action plan to handle the problems, it was never implemented.
Student Veterans Association President Scott Plotts said part of the reason for the suspension has been the college’s state of change over the past few years.
“Plain and simple, it’s continuity: the college hasn’t had any in the past few years,” he said. “You have a new chancellor, new registrars, just people shuffling in and out, constantly.”
When personnel overseeing certain projects leave and their successor isn’t aware of the problem, “then it kinda goes to the wayside and it doesn’t progress from there,” Plotts said.
The college has had two staff changes since the audit.
Last fall, the college announced the hiring of a new veterans services specialist, Gary Parker, to assist with registration and graduation for student veterans.
The college has since hired three more specialists to assist with veteran certification and enrollment.
“Obviously, there is a huge, huge issue here that goes back quite a few years,” Parker said. “I actually came here as a work study … and I had an opportunity to get into the certified official position but didn’t realize the magnitude of the issue.”
Parker and his team are reviewing 3,700 files of students currently enrolled veterans using veteran aid benefits. Each file will be reviewed twice.
Parker said part of the reason that PCC failed to meet VA standards was the lack of a dedicated staff to handle the volume of veterans at the college. He said creation of such positions will ensure a better regulated process.
Plotts, a six-year Air Force veteran, sees the suspension as a learning experience. With like-minded individuals on the job, he is confident in the college’s ability to handle the situation.
“Yeah it’s a negative thing but it can also lead to a lot of improvements,” Plotts said. “Streamlining the process, making the paperwork better, it improves everybody.”
Parker, a 28-year Air Force veteran, said he understands the problem completely. “I know we’re gonna get it fixed, I know we’re gonna be moving forward and we’re gonna do great things.”
Parker said Student Veteran Benefits recipients who have not received their veteran certification paperwork for the spring 2014 semester should contact District Office Admissions and Records, Veterans Services at either 206-4640 or 206-4715.
He also recommended that students check their MyPima email accounts to see if the office has sent them an email requesting information or documents.
By WILL WILLCOXSON
Last fall, I auditioned to be a member of the University of Arizona pep band. I decided to give it a shot even though just 52 musicians from the 250 members of UA’s full marching band are selected.
My audition didn’t go as well as I hoped, but I ended up making the cut.
Since then, I’ve balanced my dual enrollment at Pima Community College and UA with participation in the pep band.
It’s been a great honor, a fun experience and a tremendous privilege.
As fun as pep band is, however, it’s a very challenging chore. We face agonizing challenges and bitter defeats.
But when we stand to play the “Bear Down” fight song that everyone is so crazy about, we remember why we’re there.
Pep band members are expected to be a positive reflection of the school’s spirit and student life. We must cheer on the team and the crowd, and participate in various fundraisers and events.
Early in the year, we played at women’s volleyball and basketball games. I didn’t have any interest in these sports previously, but ended up respecting them and the athletes for their hard work.
Next came what everyone signs up for – men’s basketball.
Playing at men’s games is a more daunting task than any other sport.
Yes, you get into the games for free, but you are not just a spectator. You are part of the show. You stand, cheer and play your best the entire game. After all, you are heard in households across the nation.
If the team loses, you don’t get to yell and pout. You must show respect to your team and the other school for their efforts.
The music played is incredibly important. For alumni, it is pure nostalgia from their glory days. For the new kids, it starts a tradition.
Just 29 members of the pep band ensemble get to travel on road games. It takes seniority or incredible talent to go on the big trips, such as the Final Four.
If we’re selected for a road trip, we are expected to display the same energy whether it is the Elite Eight or the first game of the women’s PAC-12 tournament.
This year I traveled to places such as Seattle and Las Vegas, and got entire days to hang out with friends.
I got to ride with the men’s basketball team in a private jet and even stayed in the same hotel as them. It was a common occurrence to run into players around the hotel.
On one trip, I rode up an elevator with sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski, who used to be in band and play drums.
Being around your “idols” so much reminds you that they are normal people, just like you and me.
The tournament environment is an unforgettable experience, with hostile fans, crazy games and wins or losses decided by split-second decisions and buzzer-beating shots.
The Elite Eight loss to Wisconsin was the hardest loss of them all. Our season was cut short just one field goal away from the Final Four.
How did we react? While some fans rioted in Tucson, we kept our heads high with pride and appreciated the magical season the team had given us.
Whether the camera is on us or not, we always have one hand in the air to proudly form the number one. When the clock hits zero, win or lose, we put our warm instruments up to our face and play “Bear Down.”
Club hosts Science Night April 19
Pima Community College’s Chemistry Club will host its first-ever Science Night on April 19 at East Campus from 5-9 p.m.
Participants can experience hands-on activities in chemistry, biology, physics and astronomy.
The Chemistry Club and East Campus are partnering with Dietz K-8 School to bring in more than 100 educators and students.
For more information, call club advisor Pedro Gallardo at 206-7425.
-By Will Willcoxson
‘Bike to School Day’ set for April 23
Downtown Campus will participate in Tucson Bike Fest’s “Bike to Work/School Day” on April 23. “Energizer stations” will be set up throughout the city for commuters to visit and receive treats.
Snacks and drinks will be available for cyclists near Downtown Campus at Stone Avenue and Speedway Boulevard from 7:30-10 a.m.
Bike ambassadors will be present for simple repairs and safety checks of participant’s bicycles.
For more information, contact Michael Lopez at email@example.com.
To view the complete schedule of events for this year’s Bike Fest, visit bikefesttucson.com/events.
-By Jamie Verwys
Applications open for Pima scholarships
The Pima Community College Foundation is accepting student scholarship applications online through May 30. More than 50 privately funded scholarships are available.
Students must register on the Foundation’s Scholarship Tracking and Review System. Go to pima.edu/foundation/scholarships to begin the application process. In addition to registering with STARS, applicants must complete essay questions, apply to the recommended scholarships and email, mail or fax their unofficial high school or college transcripts to the PCC Foundation.
The Foundation encourages students to register for their classes before the early payment deadline, and then apply for scholarships. Early registration can help students avoid being dropped from their classes during the scholarship approval process.
Pima’s financial aid office will set the disbursement date for funds awarded.
Students with any questions about the application process may contact the PCC Foundation at 206-4646.
Anyone interested in becoming a STARS volunteer can email the PCC Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-By David J. Del Grande
RSVP for convocation by April 25
PCC’s graduating class of 2014 is invited to participate in a Multicultural Convocation on May 1.
The free event celebrates the student body’s academic achievements and diversity through music, student testimonials and international food. Participating graduates will receive a diversity sash that can be worn during the May 22 graduation ceremony.
The convocation will kick off at 6 p.m. in the West Campus gymnasium. The Diversity Celebration will begin at 7 p.m. in the nearby Palm Courtyard.
Graduates interested in reserving space should email the Office of College Events at email@example.com.
The RSVP email must be received by April 25 and include the graduate’s name, email address, phone number and number of guests.
-By David J. Del Grande
The Aztec Press finished as one of two regional finalists for best all-around nondaily student newspaper when the Society of Professional Journalists named its Region 11 Mark of Excellence winners March 29.
A California newspaper, the Southwestern College Sun, won first place. Aztec Press shared finalist honors with City on a Hill Press of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Aztec Press competes against student publications in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada in the “large” category for universities and colleges with a student population above 10,000.
Journalism instructor Cynthia Lancaster is the faculty adviser for Aztec Press. This year’s student editor-in-chief is Andrew Paxton.
Complete Mark of Excellence results are available at http://www.spj.org/news.asp?ref=1235.
By ANDREW PAXTON
Pima Community College students will pay more for classes next semester, following the college’s governing board approval of a tuition increase.
The board members heard from administrators, students and members of the community before voting 4-1 to raise tuition by $5 per credit hour for in-state students during its March 12 meeting.
The increase is larger than in most recent years, when tuition was increased by $2 or $3. However, the college did raise tuition by $5 in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
The cost of one credit hour for in-state residents will now be $76, including student services and technology fees.
PCC currently has the third-lowest rates in the state, which college officials expect will remain unchanged following tuition increases at other institutions.
Tuition for non-residents will remain unchanged, due in part because Pima eliminated a discount for part-time non-resident students in 2013. Officials said they didn’t want to impose another increase so soon after eliminating the discount.
The technology and student services fees that all students pay will remain unchanged as well. But fees for certain high-cost classes, such as nursing and aviation, will increase.
During the meeting, Pima’s finance chief, David Bea, detailed budget shortfalls and explained to the board and audience members why the increase is needed.
According to Bea, the need arose mostly from cutbacks in state funding, an opinion that was echoed by Chancellor Lee Lambert.
“Nobody wants to raise tuition,” Lambert said. “The state has walked away from their commitment to higher education, and especially to community colleges.”
The state of Arizona once provided more than 15 percent of Pima’s budget, but in recent years that number has dropped to around 5 percent.
To make up for the shortfall, college officials said they have no choice but to increase tuition as part of their strategy to meet the monetary needs of the institution.
Before the board meeting, PCC officials met with representatives from student government and provided details regarding the proposed increase and how the funds would be used.
“It is a great opportunity for students to communicate with those who have authority in decision making at the college,” said Alec Moreno, president of student government at West Campus.
Student representatives brought up concerns such as textbook usage, instructors not always fully utilizing available technology and funding for Student Life.
“I think we were taken seriously and given their full attention,” Moreno said.
Lambert said he wants to start bringing more focus to the individual campuses instead of everything being centered at the college’s district office.
“On the campuses is where the real work is being done,” he said. “That’s where our students are.”
According to Bea, the $5 increase will help finance several improvements to the college.
The college will spend $500,000 to enhance student services across each of the PCC’s many campuses and education centers.
Pima will also invest $500,000 to modernize four classrooms and train employees to use the new equipment.
Another $200,000 will go to hiring four additional faculty for Developmental Education.
Bea also discussed other additional priorities for PCC, including program enhancement, new initiatives and recruitment.
The college also plans to invest more in veteran student support, records management and complaints resolution.
Those areas have all come under fire recently, with the veteran’s program being sanctioned for faulty record keeping and faculty and students expressing a lack of an effective system for registering complaints.
Aaron Dinus, a member of Downtown Campus student government, told the board that students would approve of the tuition increase as long as the money was being used properly.
Although many students were in attendance at the board meeting, none of them spoke during public comments.
The only person to speak against the increase in tuition was Alfonso Valenzuela, who is a member of C-FAIRR, a community watchdog group that has been critical of the college and the governing board.
“Imagine what students are thinking when deciding about attending Pima, when there is a strong possibility they will not be able to afford tuition or receive financial aid,” he said.
Board member Scott Stewart supported the increase and said he would propose a $10 rise to tuition, but knew the board “wouldn’t have the stomach for it.”
Board member Marty Cortez approved of the increase as well, although she lamented the rising costs in education. She suggested the college attempt to freeze tuition for two years so students would know exactly how much they would be paying when they start at PCC.
Sylvia Lee, the newest member of the board, voted against raising tuition in 2013, but supported the measure this year because she feels the college is “back on the right path.”
The only member to vote against the measure was board chair David Longoria, who did not give a reason for his disapproval.
According to a study conducted by Economic Modeling Specialist Inc., for every dollar students invest in Pima, they receive a cumulative $5.30 in higher future income over the course of their working careers.
The study also said the accumulated credits achieved by former PCC students over the past three decades translated to $887.3 million in added regional income in 2009-10 due to the higher earnings of students and increased productivity of businesses.
By SHAQ DAVIS
Mark McCabe, who worked at Pima Community College for 27 years as a counselor and dean of students, has come back to work at PCC.
He was first hired on a part-time basis Dec. 17 to help Pima maintain its accreditation.
“If the college needs my assistance in some area, I talk with people to see if it’s a good fit and that’s why I’m here,” he said.
McCabe worked at Colorado Mountain College from 2005 to 2013 as assistant vice president of student affairs, then relocated to Tucson with his wife.
When McCabe returned, PCC officials asked him to come back to Pima to assist in the college’s quest to re-establish standards set by the Higher Learning Commission.
On Feb. 26, he also assumed the duties of a Downtown Campus vice president after Quincy Moore was fired six weeks into the job. McCabe is now working in both departments.
“I love this college. It gave me my start and I want to do whatever I can to help it at this time,” he said. “So whether if it’s with accreditation or assisting the Downtown Campus, I’m willing to do it.”
McCabe talked about the philosophy of a college being learning-centered and giving students an environment where learning occurs.
“What I want to be part of is creating processes that benefit student learning, and that continue into the next century,” he said.
“Every day we need to give you a better chance to have the skills to get over to the university to be successful there and to be successful here,” he added.
Downtown Campus President Gwendolyn Joseph said in a telephone interview that McCabe is helping open lines of communication with employees by including their input in campus matters.
“He brings previous experience working with the Downtown Campus, along with student service experience at PCC,” she said.
Chancellor Lee Lambert praised McCabe in an email to PCC employees.
“Mark has a strong background in student success strategies, assessment and learning outcomes,” Lambert said.
McCabe declined to say whether he would return to full-time work in the future.
“I would say I no longer want to work full time. Right now I am working 30 hours a week and I am enjoying it,” he said. “I’ve also learned to never say never.”
By ANDREW PAXTON
Pima Community College is prohibited from enrolling new student veterans for at least 60 days following a suspension of benefits from the Arizona Veterans Education & Training Approving Agency.
A March 18 letter from the VETAA to Chancellor Lee Lambert detailed the reasons for the sanction, including failure to accurately report enrollment and incomplete record keeping.
The VETAA stressed that these were repeat findings, and the college had failed to act after deficiencies were found by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 2012.
The college created an action plan but never implemented it, according to the letter.
“Pima clearly dropped the ball in the way we document and track the services we provide to our veteran education benefit recipient students,” Lambert said in a press release.
Veterans currently eligible for federal education benefits, such as the Post 9/11 GI-Bill or the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, are prohibited from enrolling at PCC under the sanctions.
The enrollment freeze does not affect the approximately 1,300 veterans already attending Pima.
The college has until April 18 to submit an action plan to the VETAA and will be subject to random spot checks for another 30 days after the plan is approved.
“I have directed the appropriate offices within the college to make this matter their top priority,” Lambert said.
“I fully expect that we will be able to regain the confidence of state and federal veteran’s officials over the next eight weeks so that we can continue to certify new veterans education benefit recipients for our summer and fall terms,” he said.
Summer classes at Pima begin May 27 and July 1.
However, the VETAA will make their formal inspection in June or July.
Following their visit, they will decide whether to lift the suspension or proceed with the withdrawal of approval of all programs offered by Pima for veterans education benefits.
By JAMIE VERWYS
Tucked away among Armory Park’s historic homes and blooming gardens rests the massive skeleton of my once-lively second home.
My time working as a cashier at the recently closed 17th Street Market remains as vibrant as the brightly colored fruit that we sold.
On Saturdays, the parking lot in front of the warehouse filled with families, students, food demos, culinary adventures and local music.
Now, the shopping carts I used to gather up are gone.
We weren’t short on color. From our eclectic regulars to exotic fish, the market was a quirky destination for more than 20 years.
For three years, I was that “17th Street Market girl” downtown. Every morning, I’d slip on my apron and scribble down all the updates on produce prices.
I still remember my regulars’ eyes lighting up when I told them mangos were three for a dollar today.
There was something for everyone. Our shelves were like a museum that housed the history of Tucson’s quixotic tastes.
Customers shared their recipes in line while admiring each other’s strange spices and Asian snack foods.
Patrons were treated to a free show in the music room every Saturday.
Notable Tucson musicians like Tom Walbank performed on a stage modeled after the Cavern Club.
Children often danced while eating the free apple that we offered them each visit.
I got to know my diverse customers closely.
We knew each other’s names, made each other laugh and often lent a kind shoulder to lean on.
People drove across town to buy our seafood. The day the owner closed the seafood department signaled the beginning of the end for the home my coworkers and loyal customers had found on 17th Street.
It was heart breaking. Each day felt like the walls were closing in around us with a hammer.
My little coworker family had put so much tenderness into those displays of cans with foreign labels and local salsas. We had to take them all down.
I have never missed a place so much. I miss cooling down from my bike ride in our refrigerated produce room.
I miss handing out huge samples of jackfruit and eating lunch with the warehouse guys.
I miss the people most of all.
As long as I am in Tucson, people will probably remember me as the smiling cashier at the neighborhood market.
My last day there embodies what I loved so much about it.
My manager’s wife made me a carrot cake that my coworkers and I ate in the back.
I told every customer that it had been wonderful serving them. Many of them hugged me; some even cried with me.
On that final walk, I looked back at my second home.
At the top of the steps, there was “Mr. T,” my manager, watching to make sure I got home safe one last time.
International Community Day
The Downtown Campus Learning Commons and Student Life will host its first International Community Day on April 3.
The event will take place from 1-5 p.m. in the Learning Commons and Free Speech Area.
Activities will spotlight the diversity of Pima students and educate the community about different cultures from around the world.
Festivities will include live music from Cuba and Scotland, dances from India, arts, crafts, and more. Cuisine from across the globe will be available.
The schedule of events includes:
1 p.m.: A tribute to Jamaica’s Son: Bob Marley (LB 153)
1:20 p.m.: An exhibit of Islamic Calligraphic Art (LB 153)
1:30 p.m.: The Beauty of Russia (LB 153)
2 p.m.: Storytelling: An Iraqi Marriage (LB 153)
2:30 p.m.: “Scotland the Brave”: The music of the Bagpipes (Free Speech Area)
3 p.m.: The Music of The Cuban Guys (Free Speech Area)
4 p.m.: Performance from the Chinese Cultural Center (Free Speech Area)
4:30 p.m.: Dances of India (Free Speech Area)
For additional details, call 206-4500.
-Compiled by Jamie Verwys
Dream Night Prom
The Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern Arizona will celebrate its 9th annual Dream Night Prom on March 29 at Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus.
Candlelighters is a local charity that provides support, education and advocacy for children and teens with cancer, as well as family and cancer survivors.
“This prom affords a magical and very healing experience for the many teens who participate,” Candlelighters’ Program Director Beverley Tidwell said.
“The challenge for a child diagnosed with cancer is multifaceted, the treatments can disrupt the usual social activities and important milestones are often missed.”
Volunteers from PCC Student Government, the Downtown Campus’ Diversity Club, local servicemen from Davis-Monthan and other community members will staff the free event.
“This event would not be possible without the generous donation and sponsorship provided by the local community,” Tidwell said.
The Dream Night Prom will be held in the Amethyst Room from 6-9 p.m. For more details, contact Beverley Tidwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-8953.
David J. Del Grande
By EBONY STOGLIN
As residents of Arizona, we hear news about earthquakes happening in states around us but rarely experience these natural disasters ourselves.
As a result, the idea of a major earthquake occurring in Arizona may seem farfetched.
Pima Community College geology instructor Noah Fay plans to discuss and evaluate earthquake hazards in Arizona, as well as other places, in a presentation titled “Earthquakes in the Western U.S.: Is Arizona at Risk?”
The discussion will take place on April 1 at 6 p.m. in the Community Board Room at PCC’s District Office, Building C, 4905 E. Broadway Blvd.
The presentation is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available.
Fay is the third lecturer to participate in PCC’s fourth annual Speakers’ Series, which highlights the expertise and accomplishments of faculty.
He has been a faculty member in Pima’s geology department for five years, and currently also teaches geology at the University of Arizona.
Fay earned a doctorate in geological sciences from the University of Oregon, and was a research scientist at the University of Arizona before joining the Pima faculty.
Additional topics to be covered by PCC faculty members during the 2014 Speakers’ Series include:
• Oct. 7: Physiology instructor Tom McDonald will present “Life, Death and Redemption at the Grand Canyon.”
• Nov. 4: Psychology instructor Sarah Burger will discuss “The Aging Brain.”
• Dec. 2: Writing instructor Kristen Hoggatt will give a presentation on “The U.S. Poetry Academy.”
For more information about the Speakers’ Series, call 206-4500.
By EBONY STOGLIN
The Pima Community College Faculty Senate is still pushing to eliminate late registration despite setbacks.
The Faculty Senate first voted to eliminate late registration, except with faculty approval, on Feb. 1, 2013.
The group had hoped the new rule would go into effect for the Fall 2014 semester.
Due to delays, the Senate is now focusing on the Spring 2015 semester and is in the process of taking the issue to the Chancellor’s Cabinet.
West Campus sociology instructor and Faculty Senate member MaryKris Mcilwaine is in favor of the concept.
“Quite often, instructors present the most fundamental and important material in the earliest lessons of the course,” she said in an email.
“Students who are not in attendance in the earliest days of a course, then, miss out on getting their first (sometimes only) exposure to the basics of the course material and thus they are much, much less likely to be beginning the course on the right foot,” she added.
An internal study conducted by Pima in Fall 2012 found approximately 80 percent of students who registered on-time passed their courses with a “C” or better. Approximately 51 percent of late-register students completed their courses with a “C” or better.
However, students offer a different perspective on the issue.
Alec Moreno, student government president at West Campus, said he knows that restricting late registration may unintentionally hinder students.
“Sometimes emergencies happen,” he said. “There are also incidents when financial aid doesn’t process on time.”
Faculty Senate President Joe Labuda said that he understands both sides of the issue, but sympathizes with instructors.
“They felt like it was best for the student body as a whole,” he said.
By SHAQ DAVIS
Quincy L. Moore, who was recently hired to a vice president position at Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus, was let go Feb. 18, just six weeks after his appointment.
Moore was paid $5,000 by the college to relocate from Ohio, and his contract ran until June of this year.
He beat out 10 other applicants for the job after being recommended to the position by the current interim campus president, Gwendolyn Joseph.
On Feb. 26, Mark McCabe was assigned to take over the duties of vice president for student development at Downtown Campus.
McCabe was first hired on Dec. 17, 2013 to help with the process to meet the standards of the Higher Learning Commission and to help remove sanctions.
“I love this college, and I want to do whatever I can to help it,” McCabe said.
He also said that his job is to help Pima develop students.
“Students come here to learn something,” he said. “My job is to create an environment where learning occurs inside and outside the classroom.”
McCabe served as a counselor and interim administrator for 27 years at PCC, Chancellor Lee Lambert said in an email.
“Mark has a strong background in student success strategies, assessment and learning outcomes,” Lambert said.
“We are fortunate to have him. Mark is looking forward to helping Pima further our mission and vision.”
The situation with Moore highlights the challenges Pima is facing regarding hiring permanent administrative positions while the college is on probation.
The Higher Learning Commission, Pima’s accrediting body, placed the college on probation after a fact-finding team found numerous operation deficiencies during a January 2013 visit.
As part of their report, the HLC recommended that PCC find stability in hiring more permanent positions to take the vision of the college forward.
“The college’s use of interim and acting administrative leaders and constant turnover in administrative positions led to reports from senior administrators during the fact-finding visit of discontinuity in meeting institutional goals,” the HLC said in their report.
A comprehensive self-study must be completed by July.
PCC must prove it has met all the requirements that the HLC has set for the college.
The HLC will then send another fact-finding team within six weeks of the self-study to confirm the changes have been made and operational standards have been restored.
The final decision regarding Pima’s probationary status will be made by the HLC in February 2015.
McCabe said he believes that dealing with probation should not just be meeting the standards but exceeding them.
“Accreditation is not one and done, you start a process for improvement that will continue long after the Higher Learning Commission has left,” he said.
College administrators are taking their time in filling positions with the help of a firm to make sure the hiring process is as smooth as possible.
In a meeting on Feb. 5, 2013, the governing board voted to hire the Association of Community College Trustees as search consultant.
The board terminated its previous contract with R.H. Perry & Associates following issues with candidates selected by the firm.
“I just want to express the fact that I think it’s pretty outrageous that we hired a firm with the perceived qualifications that R.H. Perry & Associates presented, and they have failed pretty much in every way to live up to their end of the agreement,” board member David Longoria said at the meeting.
Faculty members, students and members of the community have expressed dismay with both search firms’ troubles finding qualified candidates.
There are a total of nine positions that need to be filled in the coming months. Provost, executive vice chancellor and three campus presidents are among positions to be filled on a permanent basis.
The college will not hire someone to “sink or swim” in a leadership position that may be a detriment in leading the institution forward, Lambert said.
He said the whole country is facing drop-offs in hiring as more people are retiring and leaving spots to be filled.
Once someone at a high-level position retires or resigns, that opens the position to be filled by another employee or outside applicant.
Promotions can give employees opportunities to move up, creating a type of domino effect for that institution, he said.
Lambert also said there would be a preference to hire top-level positions from people already employed at PCC.
Although there are similar position struggles around the nation, some problems have been exacerbated because of the situation at Pima, he said.
By SHANA ROSE
Students, family members and sports fans head to the Pima Community College gym for a home basketball game.
They cheer as players hustle across the hardwood floor — passing, catching and shooting the ball. The crowd goes wild when the Aztecs score a basket.
PCC cheerleaders clap and chant along, then entertain the crowd with stunts and halftime routines.
It’s been about seven years since PCC has had cheerleading pep in its step.
A Cheer Club was re-established last semester, and made its debut during basketball season. Victoria Rios took the role of captain.
“There’s a lot more energy, it’s a lot more positive,” Rios said. “I feel like people want to come out to the games now that there’s something to see and it’s more entertaining. That’s all we’re there for, to support the team, be entertaining and have fun.”
Rios is accompanied by president Tiffany Seawaters, vice president Stephen Gilbert, treasurer Patricia Ann and secretary Allysa Landrum.
The club formed after the athletic department teamed with West Campus Student Life.
“The men’s basketball team approached us about coming together to increase attendance and school spirit,” Student Life staffer Shawn Graham said.
“The spirit is increasing,” Graham said. “It’s been years since anyone has tried to put together a team, and this group is really good. I’ve been hearing a lot of positive comments about the cheer team, how people see them because they wear their uniforms on game days.”
Basketball player Mo Webb led efforts to start the club.
“I think he felt like they needed cheerleaders,” Rios said. “We all agreed that it wasn’t fair that Pima didn’t have cheerleaders.”
The club has grown from 11 participants to 23, but is looking to add members. Tryouts will be held in the fall, before football season.
Experience is not necessary. Requirements include having a good attitude, flexibility to learn routines and enthusiasm to cheer. Because of the club status, physicals aren’t needed for tryouts.
The club cheered for men’s basketball, plans on cheering for football next fall and is willing to cheer for other Pima teams.
By JAMIE VERWYS
Upward Bound students seemed unfazed by the presence of a famous drug cartel member as they enjoyed snacks during a Pima Community College family night celebration Feb. 24.
In fact, the teens asked the celebrity for autographs.
The visitor was Lou Pimber, an actor best known for his role as a cartel henchman in AMC’s hit show “Breaking Bad.”
As a demo reel of Pimber’s work ended, he took the stage at Downtown Campus to provide motivational words of advice.
“I had powerful mentors in my life who spoke and I always knew I wanted to pay it forward,” Pimber said. “My message is always, you can’t let a bad past be an indicator of your future.”
Upward Bound is a federally funded program that helps high school students from low income families pursue higher education. Participants are first-generation college students, the first in their family to attend college.
Downtown Campus works with teens from Amphitheater, Presidio and Rincon high schools.
“This area of Tucson is one of the worst off in the country,” Upward Bound Program Manager Lyn Olsen said. “The median family income is about $15,000. Our students deal with a lot of issues but they are very motivated and want a better life.”
Upward Bound provides a wealth of resources for members to utilize. The 60 teens enrolled at Downtown Campus are required to volunteer in the community, take classes over the summer and keep their grades up.
Their time and dedication earns them free tutoring, assistance with scholarships, practice with standardized testing, counseling and cultural field trips. As long as students meet participation requirements, they may receive a stipend for their classes.
Olsen stressed the program’s high level of involvement by parents.
“They are key to everything,” Olsen said. “I found the No. 1 reason why students succeed in school and go on to college is mom.”
Pima honored the families participating in Upward Bound by hosting the family night.
The age-diverse crowd was welcomed into the Amethyst Room with lively music and an assortment of snacks. As students and parents took their seats, Pimber mingled comfortably among them.
Pimber has called Tucson home since a childhood spent on the city’s south side. Before his journey into film, he served in the Army and in law enforcement.
While working as an undercover drug and gang task force agent, Pimber was attacked by a fellow law enforcement officer. The physical and emotional injury led to his retirement.
In 2006, the Mexican cable network Cablé Vision set his acting career into motion. Due to his knowledge of weapons and self-defense, Pimber was brought on as a technical advisor. He later found himself in front of the camera for a small role.
Pimber is currently working on two television shows called “Gang Related” and “Talk of Tucson.”
High school students interested in the Upward Bound program may visit pima.edu for more information and application packets.