By JAMIE VERWYS
On the greener side of Pima Community College’s probationary status with the Higher Learning Commission, the need to inform is more important than ever. With the commitment to change made by the administration at Pima, there is simply more critical news to be relayed.
The Aztec Press has faced issues when dealing with Pima employees including behaviors explicitly prohibited by Freedom of Information Act and Arizona’s Public Record laws. Lack or denial of responses to information, internal investigations and police report requests, changes in department staff and failures to facilitate interviews raise the most important questions.
If transparency was an approved remedy in resolving the college’s discrepancies and reputation, why is anyone facing red tape?
This semester began with difficulties in receiving prompt responses from college administrators.
On Jan. 20, there was a sudden change in the procedure to speak with Chancellor Lee Lambert. Last semester, reporters found that email was a responsive, open and efficient channel.
When the chancellor was asked to speak about Gov. Ducey’s budget plan, he responded by email, “Yes, of course.”
The next email response was from Gabriela Echávarri, administrative assistant to the chancellor, asking all interview requests for the chancellor be directed to Paul Schwalbach.
The change came after receiving written consent from Lambert. After emailing Schwalbach, the marketing and public relations manager of PCC, he did arrange a phone interview for Aztec Press with the chancellor two days later.
While this request was fulfilled, subsequent ones were not even met acknowledged.
On Feb. 11, an email was sent to Schwalbach asking to quote Lambert about the hiring of new Registrar Yolanda Espinoza. Again, he asked for a deadline, which was five days later, Feb. 16. After no response, an update was requested on Feb. 17. No response or interview for a profile piece about a Pima administrator was ever received.
Another reporter experienced no response to a formal request regarding veterans at Pima. His email to Schwalbach on Feb. 20 asked that documentation of the number of veterans receiving GI Bills at Pima be provided.
Though a deadline was provided, communication never came. The reporter did receive an immediate response from the veterans’ director, Daniel Kester.
When Schwalbach was called to answer questions about transparency in public institutions on March 20, he directed the Aztec Press to PCC’s general legal counsel Jeff Silvyn.
Silvyn is responsible for “providing and managing legal services to meet the needs of the college.”
He said the best protocol for information and interview requests is to contact Jodi Horton with a topic.
Horton was hired Feb. 13 as a “temporary public relations consultant.” One of her duties is to provide outreach to local media outlets.
Her phone number is not listed in Pima’s employee directory, no contact information was released in a Feb. 13 press release and the Aztec Press had only received one phone call from her prior to this article.
When called for comment on March 23, Horton’s voicemail box had not been activated yet due to technical issues. After an email was sent, she called the Aztec Press promptly.
“I respond to media inquiries and make connections with interviewees, that’s important,” she said. “I counsel the chancellor in regard to public relations opportunities that might come his way.”
Horton is at Pima no more than 30 hours a month. When she heard about our issues in communication, she was not aware of the specific events. She provided reasons why requests might not have gotten responses.
“The chancellor has made it a policy to be really responsive to the press. He’s very well intentioned about this but very honestly as a lifelong public relations official, if he had asked me it would be my counsel not to be quite so available because it is very difficult in the amount of time he has to prioritize requests and answer every one as it comes in.”
As far as emails that were unanswered, she was not aware of them.
“I don’t know, but it is entirely possible that one of us chased the people down that you wanted to talk to and were not successful ourselves at making that connection in a timely manner. That’s not to say that one of us shouldn’t have gotten back to you, we should have, but I don’t know what specifically happened with this.”
After the phone interview with Horton, she very quickly responded to a request to interview the chancellor. Within an hour of the request, she procured an interview with him for the next day.
Lambert has made transparency one of Pima’s strongest platforms and repeatedly speaks about it in emails and meetings.
“For those of us who work in the public sector, transparency is always an element of what we do,” Lambert said in a phone interview.
When informed of communication issues and unfulfilled records requests, Lambert did not know what the reason was, but agreed that Aztec Press should receive responses.
“I want to make sure we are being supportative of your learning experience and if you are reaching out to get certain information, as long as there is no reason we can’t, we should provide it,” he said.
Silvyn explained the protocol in place for sourcing requests to the right places.
“It provides kind of a central point of contact for information requests to enter the college system,” he said. “It allows us to hopefully do a better job of tracking requests and how and when they are being fulfilled.”
University of Arizona School of Journalism Director David Cuillier doesn’t approve of what he heard from Aztec Press about Pima’s interview process.
“That’s the kind of tactics they are going to use to control information,” Cuillier said.
“These tactics are being applied all around the country in the federal level down to local. Stand your ground and do your reporting and don’t play by their rules,” he said.
“Citizens and the press should not have to play by these restrictive rules to find out what the government is doing.”
Under laws such as the Sunshine Act and the Freedom of Information Act, public institutions have legal obligations. Withholding police reports, failing to respond to requests or holding undisclosed meetings is illegal.
The Arizona Public Records Law requires that “all public records be open to inspection by any person at all times during office hours.”
First Amendment Coalition attorney Dan Barr calls the laws fundamental protections that democracy was designed to give.
“For the people to effectively govern themselves, they need as much information about the operation so they can evaluate what government officials are doing and they can participate to the full extent possible in their government,” he said.
Barr said Pima was trying to wait out the student journalists.
“It’s what a lot of governmental bodies do,” he said. “They string you along with the hope that you go away. They have learned the lesson that the delay of information can be the denial of information.”
Barr advised that legal repercussions could be taken against a public institution that failed to supply public records in a timely manner.
The call for sunshine at PCC reached a high point in 2011 when the college gained nationwide attention for former student Jared Loughner.
Suspended from PCC in 2010 for erratic behavior, Laughner was responsible for a mass shooting on Jan. 8 that killed six and wounded 14 others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Downtown Campus employee Michael Lopez thinks Pima’s handling of the Loughner situation is where problems really began.
“Pima didn’t want to give out any information,” he said. “Then people started digging into more stuff and stuff that didn’t even have to do with Loughner. I’m pretty sure it was like, ‘is this place that dysfunctional?’”
Media outlets from across the country looked to Pima for answers and many were met with “stonewalling.” Former Aztec Press news editor Debbie Hadley wrote an editorial in March 2011, expressing a need for Pima to shed a little light.
“PCC provides documents as mandated by law, but keeps a tight noose around release of information,” she wrote. “PCC’s attempts to control information are misguided and counterproductive.”
Cuillier said PCC’s transparency has been hazy for a long time.
“Pima has had a long tradition of secrecy in this community,” he said. “The community college has been controlling over information with student media and withholding information from commercial media.”
Patterns of PCC to refuse interviews and public records have been felt by several local newspapers, including the Green Valley News.
Dan Shearer, editor of the Green Valley News, said his newspaper’s biggest issue with Pima is a lack of clarity on the future of the small PCC learning center in the area.
He believes the college could work in harmony with media.
“Pima has a terrific story to tell,” he said. “Media can help get that story out. Pima can build trust with the media by being as responsive during the tough requests as they are with the pleasant.”
PCC regularly supplies press releases and event information to the Aztec Press, but Shearer has ideas for improvement to the college’s technique.
“Pima needs to dump its current method of sending out press releases and hoping they make it to local media, and instead adopt an aggressive online campaign that frames a simple message for the community: ‘We help people get to where they want to be.’”
“Pima has had a problem over the past few years of reacting to the story of the day rather than getting in front of it, framing it and rolling it out,” he added.
There are reasons the freedom of information is protected and public institutions are expected to commit to the highest level of honesty available.
Cuillier says transparency is a tool against corruption and a major component of democracy. “Without it we would just end up being a police state or a dictatorship,” he said.
Horton, the temporary public relation employee, believes the process currently in place will improve once a permanent person is hired.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have the staff or personnel in the advancement office to run a news bureau in the same way that the U of A can,” she said.
“This is an unusual situation, but soon you should have an executive director of public relations in place and things should go more smoothly.”
For Lopez, transparency at Pima is all related to the challenges created by HLC. He said administrators must remember to place focus back on where it belongs, the students.
“One thing that the chancellor said that I agree with and I will hold him to was, ‘if it’s good for the students, it’s good for Pima.’ Let’s do what’s right for the students,” he said.
Silvyn said public institutions are legally bound to transparency on certain levels.
“Some degree of transparency is required or at least implied by some applicable laws and since Pima is a public institution there’s a value in the public being able to have access to information about what’s going on at the college and important decisions that are made here,” he said.
Lambert has asked the Aztec Press to email him all failed correspondence so that he can talk to the individuals responsible for communication.
“I will make sure you get a response,” he said.
The majority of incidents included in that email are requested PCC police reports.When Pima does not supply requested reports, free of redactions, it is illegal.
As far as what will happen next, one editor’s advice echoes the Aztec Press’s dedication.
“Do not back down, know the law and quote it, bang on the door till it’s falling off its hinges,” Shearer said.
Part 2 of this series will publish in Issue 6 on April 9. It will cover police records and provide an update on issues the student newspaper has experienced with transparency.
Editor’s Note: Jodi Horton is at Pima no more then 30 hours a month. This was incorrectly stated as Horton is at Pima no more then 30 hours a week. The correction has been made. Horton stated in an email she is at Pima 33 hours a month.
Amy Copler, 20
“I would like two things: more social events that take place on campus, and more tutors available to assist students.”
Eduardo Lujan, 21
Major: Administration of Justice
“I’d like to see more diverse student clubs, like a political science club or a criminal justice debate club.”
Joshua McLean, 19
“I’d like to see better customer service in the bookstore and in the new cafeteria.”
Kari Mattias, 20
“I would like to see the tutoring center more accessible on Saturdays. Basically, more tutors, longer hours.”
Monique Carillo, 26
Major: Computer Science
“I would like better communication between students and advisors. I’d also like to see better communication between advisors and between advisors and administration. Sometimes you get totally different information from each one.”
Photos and interviews by Emery Nicoletti on East Campus.
By SHANA ROSE
Don’t have a built-in calculator on your phone? There’s an app for that. Need a flashlight? There’s an app for that, too.
You have probably downloaded apps for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, games and utilities to make your daily life easier.
As easy as it is to download and use these convenient apps, it’s just as easy for viruses, worms and Trojan horses to take over your phone. These malicious codes are known as malware.
The malware that unsuspecting phone users should be worried about is called creepware. This type of malware spies on your online behavior and tracks your exact location, then passes on that information to third parties like advertising networks.
“Most free flashlight apps are creepware,” said Gary S. Miliefsky, CEO of Snoopwall, a company that specializes in cybersecurity.
In 2013, Goldenshores Technology agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges against the company’s “Brightest Flashlight Free” app for secretly supplying cellphone locations to third parties.
The FTC complaint alleged the company failed to tell consumers that their precise location would be passed on to third parties and advertising networks.
Even when consumers were given the option to “accept” or “refuse” terms and conditions, private information was still passed on no matter which option they chose.
“Consumers trust first and verify never,” Miliefsky said. “As a result, most of their smartphones are infected with malware that they trust in the form of some useful app or game.”
Pima Community College student Kyle Fruechtenicht has only downloaded the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram apps. His calculator and flashlight were built into his phone.
He believes the built-in apps were an intentional precaution.
“I think developers did it to protect themselves and to protect the customer,” Fruechtenicht said.
Miliefsky and Rob Shimonski, author of “Cyber Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Defense” have outlined tips on protecting your phone and privacy:
• Assume you’ve already been compromised. One red flag is seeing multiple advertisements pop up while using an app, then seeing the same advertisements in your spam inbox.
• Verify the behavior and privacy risks for apps before installing them. Is an app that requires access to your GPS pinpoints, microphone, webcam and contacts a necessity?
• Do a smartphone version of spring cleaning. Delete all apps that you don’t use often or find alternatives that don’t demand so much access to your personal information.
• Turn off Wifi, Bluetooth, Near Field Communication and GPS except when you need them. If you check in on Facebook while sitting at a coffee shop or shopping at the mall, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to an attack from hackers.
• Control the amount of information you share on sites that use geomapping and geolocation, such as social media sites.
• Check to see if your email has put a tracer on you and your phone. Even when your GPS is off, your every move is still being tracked. Simply go to “settings” > “location” > “Google location reporting.” Set “location history” to turn off the tracking feature.
• Limit your personal information, such as your home address and full name, when you sign up for accounts.
Fortunately, Fruechtenicht can say he’s yet to experience being hacked, but he is still cautious.
“It’s an invasion of privacy because you’re not giving consent to that person,” Fruechtenicht said. “But at the same time, if you downloaded an app and you agreed to whatever terms, then you kind of gave away your privacy, because you accepted it.”
By ALYSSA RAMER
Pima Community College will host a talk on “Japanese Wood Sculptors” April 7.
Barbara McLaughlin, an art instructor at Desert Vista Campus, studied seven contemporary wood sculptors in Tokyo, researching the source of their materials and visiting museums and temples to view their artwork.
She will discuss the artists’ working methods and unique tools, and share her experiences in Japan, during the final Speakers’ Series of the spring semester.
The free session will begin at 6 p.m. at the PCC District Office, 4905 E. Broadway Blvd., in the Building C community board room.
McLaughlin, a wood sculptor herself, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from the Art Institute of Chicago and Northern Illinois University. She has taught at Pima since 1994.
There will be more Speakers Series events in the fall at the same location.
For more information, call 206-4500
Compiled by Nick Meyers
Ex-chancellor remains silent after demand
Former Chancellor Roy Flores has yet to respond to Pima Community College’s refusal to apologize for statements made by current Chancellor Lee Lambert in an online video released Aug. 15, 2014.
“A critical chapter of the college’s past occurred when eight women employed at the college had the courage to come forward and report sexual harassment and retaliation by the former chancellor,” Lambert said in the video.
“These women were willing to face him directly with an independent investigator. Rather than do so, he resigned more than a year before the end date of his contract,” he said.
On Aug. 20, Flores’s attorney, Benson Hufford, sent a letter to the chancellor and the board of governors threatening legal action unless they made a public apology for the allegations.
The letter claims no evidence of sexual harassment was ever established.
“The video and that article contain serious misstatements by Chancellor Lambert,” Hufford wrote.
Hufford described the statements as “malicious” and made with a “reckless disregard for the truth.”
Pima has yet to remove the video or rescind the statements.
“You should know that this college under my leadership will not tolerate sexual harassment or abusive behavior by any employee,” Lambert said in an email to Pima employees on Sept. 3, 2014.
Hufford has not replied to attempts for comment about whether Flores intends to pursue the lawsuit.
Provost seeks midwest job
Pima Community College Provost Erica Holmes was named as a finalist for a position as president of a community college in the Midwest.
PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert did not name the college when he sent college employees an email supporting Holmes.
“I certainly understand Erica’s desire to serve as president in a community college setting,” he said. “Opportunities to serve in this capacity don’t come along every day, and I wish her success as she moves through the process.”
The application marked the second time Holmes has searched for a job since being hired as provost six months ago.
In January, she was one of more than 20 applicants for a position as president of a state college in Florida.
She is the second provost PCC has hired in two years who has sought other work soon after accepting the position.
By ANDREW PAXTON
Arizona Stands UP is holding a rally and march to protest state budget cuts to education funding.
The rally begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 14 at Tucson High Magnet School. From there, protestors will march to the UA Mall and pass out literature to Tucson Festival of Book attendees.
PCC students and organizers taking part in the march will begin meeting at the Sun Tran bus station on Sixth St. in front of the school at 9 a.m.
Visit here for more information.
BY KIT B. FASSLER and JACK KEERS
Host families assembled at Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus on March 2, eager to welcome an Up With People cast of 100 students from 20 countries. Rain that day surprised visitors expecting dry, warm weather in the desert.
The group came to perform, do community service and hold workshops for a week. One group volunteered at the Community Food Bank while others visited schools and conducted cultural workshops. The highlight of their visit was performing at the Fox Theatre downtown.
Up With People returned to Tucson to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its formation in the Old Pueblo. J. Blanton Belk founded the organization in 1965.
“I had a vision that it would be really good to harness the vibrancy of young students from all over the world,” Belk said. “Young people from different cultural background could bring the message of peace.”
Belk turned 90 this year and still lives in Tucson with his wife. He could hardly imagine that the group still performs around the world, including in Cuba in 2014.
“The show goes on,” he said. “As long as young people are there, there is hope for peace in this world.”
During the group’s Downtown Campus visit, a young, tall woman named Fia Binford chatted with peers while placing balloons on stage.
When approached by a reporter, she sat down and started telling stories about why she decided to join UWP.
“My parents met in the program 33 years ago,” Binford said. “At that time, the training center was still based in Tucson. The group traveled to Puerto Rico.”
Binford, who was born in Detroit but has a strong Irish heritage, holds dual citizenship in the United Kingdom and United States. She usually spends summers in Belfast.
This semester she is taking 12 credit hours on the road through Florida Southern College. Binford is studying a degree in music business with a minor in communication.
Her focus is on international communication and small group community service, including leadership and management skills.
“I learned to say ‘I love you’ in seven languages,” she said. “You always feel being a part of something greater than yourself.”
Binford likes to sing, and enjoys jazz music and rhythm.
“When you work with the group, you don’t think as an individual,” she said. “It’s about the cast, the message as a cast.”
Binford and other cast members said there are many stereotypes involving different countries and cultures.
Binford likes to talk about her joyful experiences with host families, and said the families are most welcoming.
“Being able to stay with host families in the local community is the most emotional and personal impact for me,” she said. The bonding that develops during the stay is incredible, she added, while the departure is sad.
On March 4, half of the cast returned to Downtown Campus for a cultural fair. They set up information tables and talked to students interested in joining UWP.
Cast member Rafael Schneider strummed a Brazilian tune on his ukulele with a welcoming smile while staffing a table. People couldn’t resist stopping by, and he happily posed for photos with the ukulele.
Schneider didn’t hesitate to talk about his country and his life while growing up in Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil. He was 13 and his youngest sister was only 1 when his parents were separated. At that time, he was more worried about his baby sister than himself.
Eventually, he realized he had to do something better for his own life.
“The lessons learned made me become stronger,” he said. “I chose to be positive to get ahead of my life.”
Schneider decided to learn English in the U.S., and attended Maclay High School in Tallahassee, Fla. After he graduated, he returned to Brazil to attend college.
“When I heard about UWP I decided to join,” he said. “I like its mission and was also eager to meet students from all over the world.”
UWP taught him the importance of team building and how to appreciate other people’s cultures. In his spare time, he likes to sing and play ukulele, Brazilian style.
In the afternoon, the staff conducted a two-hour workshop on leadership, culture and understanding differences.
The activities led to discussion about interpersonal communication, cultural differences and how those differences affect interaction among individuals.
Yira Brimage, vice president of student development for Downtown Campus, said PCC is positioning itself for globalization and the visit by international students could build bridges of global friendship.
“The UWP cast doesn’t only perform,” she said. “The component part of it is community service that brings the message of peace. These international students visit our community full of vibrancy, enthusiasm and energy. I hosted a student from Switzerland who speaks five languages.”
UWP’s theme for its March 6 performance integrated music and dance from the ‘60s to the present. It featured colorful dances from South Africa, Hawaii, Japan, Cuba and the U.S.
During the emotional finale, the audience joined in singing the group’s theme song, “Up Up with People.”
By ANDREW PAXTON
Pima Community College has emerged from probation nearly two years after sanctions were first placed on the college.
The Higher Learning Commission, Pima’s accrediting body, announced the decision following an annual meeting by the commission’s board of trustees.
However, the college remains “on notice,” meaning it must continue to make improvements and demonstrate progress or risk being placed back on probation or having accreditation removed.
The commission identified 11 areas where the college still needs to make improvements.
A major concern was that many of the changes put into place were made recently, and evidence does not yet exist regarding their effectiveness.
“It should be noted that the college has already begun work on these areas in order to put processes into place and to demonstrate results,” Chancellor Lee Lambert said in an email to college employees.
Pima was first placed on probation in April 2013 after a fact-finding team discovered numerous leadership deficiencies and a “culture of fear” at the college.
Since then, Pima’s governing board hired Lambert as its new chancellor, board members underwent leadership training workshops and several administrators are no longer at the college.
The college will have to submit a “notice report” to the HLC by July 1, 2016, which must demonstrate progress has been made in the 11 areas identified by the commission.
By September 2016, the HLC will conduct an evaluation visit, and in February 2017 the commission will decide whether to fully lift sanctions, keep the college on notice, reinstate probation or remove accreditation.
DECISION FOLLOWS STATE ELIMINATING PCC FUNDING
By ANDREW PAXTON
Pima Community College’s governing board voted to increase tuition days after the state eliminated funding to the college.
Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature delivered the final blow to state funding for PCC with the release of the 2016 state budget on March 7.
The budget eliminates the final state allocation to PCC, which totaled $7.1 million in 2014. As recently as 2008, the state provided about 15 percent of the college’s budget, although that number dwindled to less than 5 percent.
“I am extremely disappointed to report to you that the new budget eliminates all state funding for Pima Community College … reducing our three primary revenue streams to two with the stroke of a pen,” PCC chancellor Lee Lambert wrote in an email.
“These resources are essential as we train students so they can propel our region’s economic development,” Lambert said.
Pima’s governing board voted to raise tuition by $5 per credit hour on March 11, making in-state tuition $75.50 per unit starting in Fall 2015. Most PCC classes are three or four units.
The raise was foreshadowed days earlier when Lambert talked about “hard decisions” following the release of the state budget.
“The college has a history of keeping tuition low, as we recognize many of our students are of modest means,” Lambert said.
“We must balance the need to keep tuition increases reasonable with the need for revenue to continue to provide high-quality programs and services that deliver value to students and the community.”
The college also increased the semester processing fee from $10 to $15.
Pima eliminated the $15 graduation application fee and a $2 fee for student identification cards.
Lambert said administrators have been meeting with student government leaders “to share information and gain their insights,” regarding tuition and fee increases.
The college also considered raises of $10 and $15 per credit hour, which student leaders opposed.
Pima has been anticipating cuts to its state funding and has been planning for possible shortfalls.
“The budget planning process puts us in a strong position as we determine how proposed cuts could impact our operations and our students,” Lambert said.
Pima has prepared different action plans for budget reductions ranging from $5-$15 million.
“However, the proposed cuts would compromise our ability to provide affordable and modern training opportunities for Arizona’s future workforce,” Lambert said.
State universities are also taking about $99 million in cuts.
“This is a values-based budget that reflects key priorities for the state of Arizona,” Ducey said in a statement shortly after the budget plan was released.
Lambert pledged “to minimize the damage to the college wrought by the state’s decision.”
“I have been heartened by the outpouring of support for PCC from students and all corners of the community as the state’s budget direction became clear,” he said.
“Our customers and constituents understand that PCC’s continued delivery of quality education is crucial if students are to achieve their personal vision of the American Dream, and that our students form the backbone of a stable, healthy, economically vibrant Tucson.”
Lambert will host several information meetings to give more details about how the budget cuts will impact the college.
“The meetings are meant to convey the latest information and to answer questions and concerns,” Lambert said.
“I remain resolute in my belief that by working together and having open discussions, we can meet our challenges and continue to deliver high-quality services.”
PCC budget finance meeting dates and locations:
March 9, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Downtown Campus, Amethyst Room
March 10, 4-5 p.m., Desert Vista Campus, Ocotillo Room
March 24, 3:30-4:30 p.m., 29th Street Coalition Center, Aurora Room
March 25, 3:30-4:30 p.m., West Campus, JG05
April 2, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Northwest Campus, A207
April 6, 3:30- 4:30 p.m., Community Campus, A109/112
April 7, 10-11 a.m., Maintenance & Security Conference Room MS 105
Compiled by Jamie Verwys
Former PCC board member Esther Tang dies
Former Pima Community College governing board member Esther Don Tang, who played instrumental roles in the creation of the East and Northwest campuses, has died at age 97.
Tang served on the governing board from 1975-1984.
A memorial service will be held for Tang on March 28 at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 1946 E. Lee St., at 1 p.m.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Esther and David Tang Scholarship Endowment through the PCC Foundation.
Please address donations to The David & Esther Tang Scholarship Endowment Fund – Pima Community College Foundation, 4905-C E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ, 85709.
Summer classes registration starts March 16
Students interested in taking classes at Pima Community College this summer can begin to register March 16.
Following the new policies that began this semester, registration will close the day before classes start.
Students who do not meet the deadline will be required to obtain written permission from faculty.
To register, students may visit any Pima campus or go online to pima.edu using their MyPima account.
•Session A: May 25-June 29
•Session B: June 30- Aug. 5
•Session C: May 25-July 21
•Session C: May 25-Aug. 5
Chancellor plans West Campus visit March 25
Chancellor Lee Lambert will visit West Campus on March 25.
He will be on campus from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. conducting “office hours” and joining the student body for lunch in the cafeteria.
The chancellor will take a walk of the campus from 8:30 to 9 a.m.
He will meet with students from 11 a.m. to noon in the Student Life office, followed by lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m.
Any one interested in meeting with the chancellor may schedule a meeting as a work group, department or individually by contacting Patty Perez at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scheduled meetings will last 30 minutes.
By MICKEY RAY LAMB
East Campus is using a “bringing the universe to your backyard” theme for an “Astronomy for All” series designed specifically for non-scientists.
“We really want people to come from the community,” event organizer Maria Pereira said. “That’s who these events are for, people without a science background.”
The next installment of the free series will take place on March 26 with astrophysicist Cameron Hummels, a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Arizona Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory.
Hummels will discuss “The Moon: Formation, Exploration and Habitation” at 7 p.m. in the East Campus community room. Stargazing in the campus observatory will follow at 8 p.m.
On Feb. 25, astronomer Megan Reiter of Steward Observatory spoke on “Growing Pains: the Tumultuous Youth of Stars.”
Reiter received her bachelor of arts in physics and astrophysics at the University of California-Berkeley in 2007, with special interests in molecular clouds and star formation, massive star feedback and star clusters.
She is currently in her seventh year as a graduate student at the UA Department of Astronomy. She was awarded the College of Science Service Award in 2012 and is a former co-chair for UA’s Women’s Science Forum.
Reiter illustrated popular scientific theories on how fledgling galaxies are created and what happens with exploding stars or supernova.
She applied her years of experience in the field, using images provided by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Astronomers know that supernovas occur but offer many conflicting theories concerning the outcomes, Reiter said.
“Science is about trying to figure things out and not about measuring things that we already know,” she said.
For more information on “Astronomy for All” series, call 206-7616 or email East Campus Student Life at EC-StudentLife@pima.edu.
By KATIE STEWART-VACIO
Pima College Community’s graduation committee is accepting student speaker applications for the May 21 commencement ceremony. The deadline to apply is March 23.
Students who are graduating with an associate degree as of Fall 2014, Spring 2015 or Summer 2015 can apply to be the speaker.
Applicants will be asked to describe their involvement at the college, briefly explain why they feel diversity is important and provide a possible opening statement for their speech, which should include a “positive and inspirational message.”
Students will also be asked to provide the names of two faculty members willing to support their nomination.
The online application can be found at pima.edu/events/graduation-ceremony/speaker-application.html.
Students can apply via paper application by asking a staff member at any campus Student Services Center to print the form.
Paper applications can be submitted by mail to: Pima Community College, Office of College Events, 4905 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, Arizona 85709-1150
They can also be sent by fax to 206-4729.
Applications will be judged by the committee. The top candidates will be interviewed before a graduation speaker is selected.
Applicants not selected to speak at the graduation ceremony may be asked to deliver a speech at PCC’s Multicultural Convocation.
The convocation, described as a more “intimate” ceremony than graduation, will be held at 6 p.m. on May 1 in the Aztec Gym and palm courtyard at West Campus.
For more information, call 206-4631.
By NICK MEYERS
Two people argue over an orange. Each has good reasons for why they should get the orange but is unable to convince the other. Their solution is to split the orange. They later discover that one wanted only the rind and the other wanted only the juice.
“If they had actually had a conversation about what they needed, they could have had 100 percent of what they needed,” said Jeff Silvyn, Pima Community College’s general counsel.
This is the idea behind Pima’s annual Meet and Confer, a process in which employees and administrators meet to discuss employee needs and how the college can best meet those needs.
“It’s one of the interesting things about Pima,” Silvyn said. “Employees really do have an opportunity to have a significant impact on what the working conditions are like.”
Representatives from three employee groups began meeting with teams of administrators in January and will continue through April. In April, each employee team will present resolutions to the Board of Governors.
The three employee groups are the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Association of Classified Exempt Staff and the PCC Education Association.
While Meet and Confer has been a Pima facet almost since the college’s inception, employee groups are focusing this year on a specific type of bargaining: interest-based negotiation.
Many methods may be employed during negotiations. The story about the orange illustrates the difference between positional bargaining and interest-based negotiation.
With a variety of topics to address, Pima hopes interest-based negotiation will bring beneficial outcomes for both employees and the college by defining the actual issues and discussing the true needs of both groups.
Members of the Board of Governors have also offered more direction this year than in the past.
Hal Melfi, vice-chairman of AFSCME, says more board involvement is a positive change.
“That’s a good thing because the board is our connection to the community at large,” he said. “It opens everything up.”
The governing board has tasked the Meet and Confer teams with two main focuses: minimizing personnel-related costs and planning for scenarios in which the budget is reduced by 5, 10 or 15 million dollars.
“The emphasis is always on providing student services,” Melfi said. “We talk about what’s in the best interest for the college.”
State budget cuts and decreased admission have throttled Pima’s spending ability. In Meet and Confer meetings this year, employees will focus largely on decreasing the amount of money spent on employees.
“It’s typical for a college or university that most of the budget goes towards personnel,” Melfi said. “So it’s always the most obvious place to start looking.”
Meet and Confer teams will also discuss sections of the Higher Learning Commission’s site evaluation report. While Pima has met accreditation standards, 11 of 20 sub-criteria were “met with concern.”
The HLC’s five main criteria focus on the college’s mission, integrity and ethical conduct, the quality of education, self-evaluation and Pima’s ability to fulfill its mission and improve in the future.
“As a result of that, there are probably changes that we need to make to change those from ‘meets with concern’ to just ‘meets,’” Silvyn said.
Employees and administrators will work on correcting the deficiencies. Some concerns have already been reviewed and approved, but the college will still look closely in order to verify compliance.
Each employee group has six members. They meet weekly or bi-weekly with a team of six board representatives.
The teams of administrators vary but always include Dan Berryman, Pima’s new vice chancellor for human resources, and Alison Colter-Mack, director of employee relations and policies.
“If you walked into most private sector employers, you wouldn’t see anything like this,” Silvyn said. “It’s not unique to Pima but in the bigger work world it’s unusual unless you’re in a true union.”
The process helps improve work conditions, Melfi said.
“All across the world people are saying, ‘I know I’m not going to get a raise,’ but to have working conditions that make work possible and even enjoyable, that goes a long way,” he noted.
Interviews and photos at Downtown Campus by Emery Nicoletti