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Ex-instructor, college to discuss settlement

Ex-instructor, college to discuss settlement


A former Pima Community College instructor will meet with a college attorney Oct. 20 to discuss the instructor’s claim that he was denied due process.

David Katz, a former chemistry instructor, filed a federal lawsuit against the college in July 2015. A judge heard oral arguments last May.

Katz listed seven complaints against the college but the judge allowed just one count, “suspension without due process,” to move forward.

PCC officials declined requests for comment, saying the college does not discuss pending litigation.

Katz said via email the college offered a settlement within 24 hours of the judge’s order. He will meet with PCC attorney Georgia Staton on Oct. 20 to discuss terms.

He plans to pursue damages if the talks do not yield results in his favor.

The federal judge declined action on six other complaints alleging:

  • Suspension from teaching as retaliation for exercise of First Amendment rights.
  • Seizure of private property.
  • Recession of approval of contract for the 2014-2015 year.
  • Failure to renew contract as retaliation for excise of First Amendment rights.
  • Failure to provide teaching contract for 2014-2015.
  • Failure to provide teaching contract for 2015-2016.

Pima’s Personnel Policy Statement for College Employees states instructors must be offered notice by March 1 if they are being considered for a contract renewal or denial.

Evidence presented in court said disciplinary action began against Katz in 2011. The action included a “Notice of Fact Finding Meeting” to discuss allegations of unprofessional conduct.

In 2013, a complaint by Science Lab Supervisor Don Harp and a separate complaint alleged that Katz kept a bottle marked Thermite in the lab. OSHA regulations consider the pyrotechnic material to be a safety violation.

Katz explained his side of the situation and his contract was renewed for the 2013-2014 year.

In court documents, Katz maintains he was the victim of “retaliatory conduct” after sending a July 2013 email to Mary Kay Gilliland, the academic dean for science, technology engineering and mathematics.

He was put on “Notice of Investigatory Leave of Absence” for the communication, Katz writes on his website,, saying, “My college email was suspended and a kitchen sink of charges by the administration were added.”

He was placed on paid leave in September 2013 and was suspended without pay on Oct. 4, 2013.

The court ruled by summary judgment that Katz’ due process was denied because he did not receive notice by March 1, 2013.

Katz was placed back on paid leave after the October suspension, but the court found that PCC simply let time run out until the deadline for contract renewal.

Candidates seek governing board seats

Candidates seek governing board seats


While the U.S. presidential election has sucked up TV time, a race for Board of Governors may be most important to Pima Community College.

The five-member governing board meets monthly in public session to fulfill duties that include selecting the chancellor, determining a mission and setting goals for the college. Board members serve a six-year unpaid term.

Three board seats are up for election, but only one has a contested race. Martha Durkin, Luis Armando Gonzales and Francis P. Saitta each seek to represent District 5.


Durkin was appointed as the District 5 representative in August 2015 after the early departure of board member Marty Cortez.

She’s an attorney who previously worked as a deputy city manager, a deputy attorney for the City of Tucson and as general counsel for Tucson Unified School District.

Durkin touts her time in public service.

“My experience and education make me the most qualified candidate to represent District 5,” she said. “I represented and advised local governmental entities for nearly 30 years, and held a number of high-level administrative positions.”

Durkin also cites the current board’s relationship with Chancellor Lee Lambert.

“During this last year, the board/chancellor relationship has grown stronger and we are more effective as we get to know each other and build trust,” she said.

On her campaign website, Durkin pledges to “continue to work to address accreditation issues, student achievement and industry relations.”


Gonzales is a former Arizona state senator and former executive director of gaming for both the Pascua Yaqui and Ak-Chin Maricopa tribes. He also recently served as South Tucson’s city manager.

He touts his financial background and ability to deal with complex budget issues.

“I have hands-on experience on budgetary matters far and beyond that of any other candidate,” he said. “Unlike my opponents, I have actually balanced many budgets.”

Gonzales also drew sharp contrast to how his actions would differ from Durkin’s. “I am opposed to student tuition fee increases, unlike the current board member, Ms. Durkin,” he said.

He expressed concerns about how PCC is governed, specifically the ongoing accreditation saga.

On his campaign website, Gonzales lists a 10-point plan to help PCC escape it’s accreditation woes. It includes items such as “restoring transparency” and “accountability of administrators.”

If enacted, Gonzales believes his plan will “keep the college’s doors open for student access, affordability and success.”


Saitta, a former PCC adjunct instructor in math and biology, also ran for the District 5 seat in 2012. He decided to run again because he believes in the value of education.

“As an educator, I have an avid interest in the essential role of our system of public education in the long term viability of our democracy,” he said.

In addition to accreditation woes, Saitta said PCC is not inclusive enough.

“No one in Pima County should be denied access to the educational programs at PCC because of financial reasons so long as students enroll in programs commensurate with their academic preparedness,” he said.

Saitta wants the college to offer a self-paced high school diploma program. He contends the program should be part of PCC’s mission.


 Hay, a former University of Arizona provost and executive vice president, will win by acclamation.

Scott Stewart held the District 4 seat for 18 years, but chose not to run again. Stewart is the last board member who served during the administration of previous Chancellor Roy Flores.

Hay currently serves as a physiology professor at the UA College of Medicine and is president of a Tucson biotechnology company, ProNeurogen, Inc.

“She is extraordinarily well qualified and sees the higher education landscape in ways not too unlike mine,” Stewart said. “But I believe her experience, reputation and communication style will be able to obtain better results.”

Hay said her experience “allows me a unique perspective and understanding.”

She said she would spend her first year getting up to speed.

“I look forward to meeting and working with the other PCC board members in January and working with Dr. Lambert to advance and strengthen PCC,” she said.


Clinco, who was appointed to the board in December 2015 after David Longoria resigned, will also win by acclamation.

He is a former Arizona state representative and currently serves as the executive director of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation and vice president of Catalina In-Home Services, Inc.

Clinco did not respond by press time to numerous attempts for comment.

His campaign website says he plans to focus on four themes: accountability, accessibility, affordability and vision.

Martha Durkin

Martha Durkin

Luis Armando Gonzales

Luis Armando Gonzales

Francis P. Saitta

Francis P. Saitta

Enrollment drops another 6 percent

Enrollment drops another 6 percent


Enrollment at Pima Community College continues to decline, dropping 6 percent overall since Fall 2015.

Official Sept. 29 headcount was 22,409 for all six campuses and online courses, according to PCC’s Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness office.

The decrease marks the sixth year in a row that PCC has seen an enrollment decline.

On the positive side, college officials say they have seen an increase in applications.

Enrollment has increased in specific areas, including for online courses and among students age 55 and older. International enrollment has increased 24 percent.

Nursing has seen an 8 percent increase, with a 23 percent increase in credit hours for which nursing students enroll.

Pima can attribute its overall enrollment decline to the country’s improving economy and to other educational options, according to Vice Chancellor for External Relations Lisa Brosky.

“As the economy improves, community college enrollment tends to go down because of the nature of our students,” she said. “Many of our students are here to get the education they need to get a job. If they get a job, they don’t always think about school.”

Competition from online programs is also a factor, Brosky said.

She cites Arizona State University’s comprehensive online program and exclusively online universities like Southern New Hampshire University as new competitors to community colleges.

PCC changes its workforce courses to meet new needs, according to Brosky.

“As technology changed, the needs of our employers changed and we see that significantly in fields like manufacturing,” she said.

In the past, potential students could obtain manufacturing jobs straight out of high school, she said. They received on-the-job training and did not need post-secondary education.

Now, students need critical thinking and communication skills, Brosky said. Pima can also fill a need by training students to use specific equipment when an employer doesn’t have time to provide that training.

The college has made numerous efforts in recent years to improve enrollment.

During a 2015 campaign, PCC allotted $434,700 to buy both outdoor and online ads. The goal was to increasing enrollment and visibility, and to rebuild community relationships.

College officials believe the campaign helped prevent steeper enrollment drops.

“Advertising is a really hard thing to measure,” Brosky said. “We feel confident in saying that all our marketing efforts … were effective.”

PCC is currently budgeting for a survey that will ask community members about topics such as their relationship with the college and additional programs they would like to see.

Brosky said the college’s No. 1 goal is to never let students be negatively impacted by its financial challenges but noted, “Realistically, it happens.”

Budget options include making cuts in areas that students won’t notice, such as reducing equipment purchases, she said.

PCC will also evaluate low-enrollment courses. “Any healthy organization looks constantly at programs,” Brosky said.

I.T. GIRL: Widespread surveillance spawns encryption apps

I.T. GIRL: Widespread surveillance spawns encryption apps


Sending an email to another country, associating with someone on the TSA No-Fly List or simply contacting someone by mistake can trigger an algorithm of commands that scan your browsing history, location data, text messages, contacts and online purchases.

Mining dating, whether by a business or the government, isn’t unusual. However, most Americans were unaware of widespread surveillance until former NSA subcontractor Edward Snowden released classified information on global surveillance programs.

The revelations have lead to increased use of encryption-enabled chat apps. Encryption is the ability to secure data by encoding text, data or photos. It takes a password to view encrypted messages.

What was once a tool for government officials, spies and criminals is now accessible to everyone.

WhatsApp made encrypted messaging available to more than a billion users in 2013. “Secret Conversations” further normalizes encrypted chat thanks to WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook. Google’s messaging service Allo and calling service Duo began offering encryption capabilities in May.

I’ve grown increasingly passionate on this topic after watching “Citizenfour,” a documentary about Snowden. Others aren’t as paranoid as me.

Pima Community College freshman Eldon Fielding doesn’t use a password on his phone, saying he has nothing to hide. Nevertheless, he values his privacy.

Daniel McClelland, a student at both Pima and the University of Arizona, is on the fence about data mining.

“If my browsing preferences, general information and nothing incredibly personal are being used, I don’t mind,” McClelland said. “But if it’s something I’ve come up with or made, that’s a breach of my intellectual property.”

McClelland isn’t worried about his own information.

“If I do have something to hide, I have a VPN for that,” he said.




Police Beat

Suspect arrested on sexual assault charges

A female student in an English classroom at Pima Community College’s Coalition Center experienced an unwanted advance by a male student on July 25.

According to the campus police report, a female student told campus police officer Rebecca Thifault that a male had walked behind her while she was seated in a chair and had reached for her left elbow with his left hand.

The man ran his hand over her shoulder, then reached over her shoulder and squeezed her left breast. The student pushed the man’s hand away, left the classroom and spoke to Thifault immediately, pointing out the man as he was leaving the classroom.

Using the classroom roster, a possible suspect was identified. When questioned by Officer Joshua Blum, the man said that he had been involved in an argument over a pen that an the woman had taken from him.

The man said he was trying to retrieve his pen and any contact with the woman’s breast was purely accidental.

A classroom volunteer corroborated the woman’s report although he didn’t see the man touch her breast. He also did not see any sign of a dispute over a pen. The woman also denied that there was a pen involved.

Based on the statements received by the Tucson Police Department from campus police, a warrant was issued for the man’s arrest. TPD executed the warrant on Sept. 19.

-By Robyn Zelickson


PCCPD investigates domestic dispute at West Campus

By Brittney Young

Pima Community College Police were called to West Campus on Sept. 18 for a domestic violence dispute between two married ISS janitorial employees.

Officer Anthony French met a male employee at the south stairs of the F building. The man said he and his wife were having an argument through text that escalated to a confrontation.

He told French he had placed his hands on her arm to keep her in place. He then threw his keys and an energy drink at her.

ISS Supervisor Patricia Valenzuela told police officer Shad Pace, that she had walked into the room and the two were screaming at each other. She said she saw the man slam his wife to the ground.

Pace spoke to the wife who at first was hesitant to speak. She later told the officer that her husband had thrown his keys and hit her in the back. Pace observed no signs of physical injury.

Pace determined he had probable cause to place the man under arrest. He was transported to the Pima County Jail where he was booked.

-By Robyn Zelickson


Downtown Campus library sponsors surplus book sale

The Downtown Campus library will hold a book sale Oct. 13-14 in the Amethyst Room. Most items will be priced at $1 and $2.

The book sale will run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Thursday. Friday hours will be 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

For additional information, call the library at 206-7267.

-By Arlaeth Ramirez


Technology challenges on display Oct. 15

Pima Community College and Women in Technology will co-sponsor a science, technology, engineering and math showcase on Oct. 15 from 1-4:45 p.m. at West Campus.

Activities in the cafeteria and gym will include exhibits and interactive activities, STEM micro-workshops, a WIT panel discussion and a career exploration expo hosted by JobPath.

A Challenge Spotlight will feature five teams competing for seed funding for STEM projects they launched over the summer. Each team is made up of PCC students, faculty and staff, and business/industry mentors.

Keynote speaker Nagin Cox, a NASA/JPL engineer and U.S. State Department citizen ambassador, will talk at 3 p.m.

For further information, contact Michael Peel at or 904-5237.

-By S. Paul Bryan

 Northwest Campus to host Halloween Spooktacular

Northwest Campus will host a Halloween Trick O Treat Spooktacular on Oct. 18 from 10:30 a.m-1 p.m. on the second level of the campus.

The free event, sponsored by the University of Phoenix and by Northwest Campus Student Life, will include five different activities.

For more information, contact the Student Life Center at 206-2121 or Tiffany Hastings-Kibler, program coordinator, at

 -By Brittney Young


Stand against bullying on Oct. 19 Unity Day

Northwest Campus will hold a Unity Day on Oct. 19 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Student Life Center.

Unity Day is a free event that takes a stand against bullying. To show your support, wear orange or stop by the Student Life Center to pick up an orange ribbon.

For more information, contact the Student Life Center at 206-2121 or Tiffany Hastings-Kibler, program coordinator, at

-By Brittney Young


Anthropologist to speak at Downtown Campus

(DC information desk is 206-7171. General college info is 206-4500)

Rosalva Aida Hernández, a prominent Mexican cultural anthropologist, will visit Downtown Campus on Oct. 20 in [what room?].

Hernández will discuss “Multiple Injustices: Indigenous Women, Law and Political Struggle” as the speaker for the Raquel Rubio Goldsmith Lecture in Ethnic, Gender and Global Studies.

The evening starts with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the lecture at 6 p.m. and ending with a book signing.

Hernández, an activist for women’s and indigenous rights, has published 22 books and numerous scholarly articles. She earned her doctorate from Stanford University and is currently a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

For further information, call 206-xxxx.

-By Arlaeth Ramirez

Silver Scholars series gets underway Oct. 21

Northwest Campus will launch a Silver Scholars speaker series this fall that is free and open to the public.

The first lecture takes place Oct. 21 from 10 a.m.-noon in [what room?]. PCC psychology instructors Gail Gonzales and Carin Rubenstein will speak on “Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness”

For more information, contact the Northwest Campus Information office at 206-2200.

-By Brittney Young





Oct. 13-14: Library Book Sale, Downtown Campus Amethyst Room, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thurs, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Fri. Most items priced $1-$2. Details: 206-7267.


Oct. 13: LBTQ history, Northwest Campus Student Life Center, D-201, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. Details: 206-2121.


Oct. 15: STEM Innovation Showcase Event, West Campus gym and cafeteria, 1-5 p.m. Free. Details: or 904-5237.


Oct. 18: Trick O Treat Halloween Spooktacular, Northwest Campus, 10:30 a.m-1 p.m. Free. Details: 206-2121.


Oct. 19: Unity Day, Northwest Campus Student Life Center, D-201, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Details: 206-2121.


Oct. 20: United Way Resource Fair, Northwest Campus [what room?], 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. Details: 206-2121. (NW information desk is 206-2200. General college info is 206-4500)


Oct. 20: Sculpture-on-Campus installation reception, East Campus Courtyard, 2-4 p.m. Free. Details: 206-7619.


Oct. 20: “Multiple Injustices: Indigenous Women, Law and Political Struggle,” by cultural anthropologist Rosalva Aida Hernández, Downtown Campus [what room?]. Reception 5:30 p.m., lecture 6 p.m. Free. Details: 206-xxxx. (DC information desk is 206-7171. General college info is 206-4500)


Oct. 21: Silver Scholars speakers series, “Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness” by psychology faculty Gail Gonzales and Carin Rubenstein, Northwest Campus [what room?], 10 a.m.-noon. Free. Details: 206-2200.


Oct. 23: PCC Chorale and College Singers, West Campus CFA Proscenium Theatre, 3 p.m. $6. Box office: 206-6986.





Oct. 14: Volleyball vs. Chandler-Gilbert CC, West Campus gym, 7 p.m.


Oct. 18: Men’s soccer vs. Mesa CC, Kino North Stadium, 4:30 p.m.


Oct. 18: Women’s soccer vs. Mesa CC, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.


Oct. 20: Men’s soccer vs. Arizona Western College, Kino North Stadium, 4:30 p.m.


Oct. 20: Women’s soccer vs. Arizona Western College, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.


Oct. 22: Football vs. Arizona Western College, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.





Through May 31, 2017: Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life, Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Daily 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. $9-$13 adults. Details:


Through Oct. 30: Marana Pumpkin Patch & Farm Festival, 14901 N. Wentz Road. Mon-Thurs 3-7 p.m. ($10); Fri, Sat, Sun 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ($12). Details:


Through Oct. 31: Nightfall at Old Tucson, 201 S. Kinney Road. Thurs 6-10 p.m.; Fri-Sat 6 p.m.-midnight; Sun 6-10 p.m.; Halloween night 6-10 p.m. $28 plus tax. Details:


Through Nov. 5: Slaughter House, 1102 W. Grant Road. Times vary. $23-$75, with discounts available. Details:


Oct. 13: Tucson Fashion Week: City Chic, Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., 7:30-10 p.m. $20-$50. Details:


Oct. 14: TFW: Premiere Runway & Fashion Presentations, Museum of Contemporary Art, 265 S. Church Ave., 6-10 p.m. $12-$80. Details:


Oct. 15: Tucson Classics Car Show, The Gregory School, 3231 N. Craycroft Road, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $5. Details:


Oct. 16: Blues Heritage Festival, Reid Park at DeMeester Bandshell, 900 S. Randolph Way, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. $10 in advance, $12 at gate. Details:


Oct. 16: KFMA Fall Ball, Pima County Fairgrounds, 11300 S. Houghton Road, noon-10 p.m. General $40, VIP $125. Details:


Oct. 14-15, 21-22: Terror in the Corn at Buckelew Farm, 17000 W. Ajo Way. Fri-Sat 6 p.m.-midnight. $25-$30. Details:


Oct. 22: Tucson Firefighter’s Chili Cook Off, Reid Park, 900 S. Randolph Way, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Donations appreciated. Details:





Oct. 13: RA RA Riot, 191 Toole, 191 E. Toole Ave., 7 p.m. $16-$18. Details:


Oct. 14: Tory Lanez, Rialto Theatre, 318 E Congress St., 7 p.m. $26-$40. Details:


Oct. 14: Los Tigres Del Norte, AVA Amphitheatre, 5655 W. Valencia Road, 7 p.m. $40. Details:


Oct. 15: Flock of Dimes, 191 Toole, 7 p.m. $10-$12. Details:


Oct. 17: Eric Hutchinson, Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., 7 p.m. $20. Details:


Oct. 18: The Mowgli’s, Club Congress, 7 p.m. $20. Details:


Oct. 19: Getter, Rialto Theatre, 7 p.m. $20-$60. Details:


Oct. 19: Hinds, Club Congress, 7 p.m. $15-$17. Details:


Oct. 20: Wild Nothing, Club Congress, 7 p.m. $15. Details:


Oct. 25: Seven Lions, Rialto Theatre, 7 p.m. $21-$26. Details:


Oct. 26: Kishi Bashi, Club Congress, 7 p.m. $16-$18. Details:





Theater releases


Oct. 14

“Max Steele”


“The Accountant”

“Certain Women”


Oct. 21

“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”

“The Whole Truth”

“Keeping Up with the Joneses”

“Quija: Origin of Evil”

“The Handmaiden”


“Boo! A Madea Halloween”

“It Had to be You”



Oct. 28

“American Pastoral”


“Gimme Danger”


DVD releases


Oct. 18

“Independence Day: Resurgence”

“Bates Motel: Season Four”

“Café Society”


Oct. 25

“Mr. Church”

“Be Somebody”

“Captain America”


“The Killing of America”



Blu-Ray releases


Oct. 18

“Alice Through the Looking Glass”

“Trouble Man”

“What We Become”



Oct. 25

“Mr. Church”

“The ID”

“The Executioner”

“The Night of the Grizzly”

Accreditation visit brings Pima praise, scorn

Accreditation visit brings Pima praise, scorn



The Higher Learning Commission’s “focus visit” wrapped up Sept. 27 with a forum for invited community members. That meeting created little drama, unlike a more exclusive forum held between HLC reviewers and critics of the college earlier in the day.

Reviewers were present on all PCC campuses throughout Monday, Sept. 26, and Tuesday, Sept. 27. Their meetings and forums focused on a wide range of issues with varying groups of the college’s constituencies.

The two meetings at Downtown Campus could not have been more different in tone.

The first meeting focused on criticisms from the Coalition For Accountability, Integrity, Respect and Responsibility and the commission’s reviewers. The second meeting was limited to invited guests.

The scheduled meeting between accrediting reviewers and C-FAIRR representatives started off fiery, with C-FAIRR Board Chair Mario Gonzales beginning the proceedings by admonishing the reviewers from 2010.

“That team is the ones that gave a big, big pass to the college as sexual harassment issues were coming down; they discovered nothing,” he said. “For what reasons, I have no idea.”

As Gonzales continued, he was interrupted by reviewer Sherilyn Poole. “We know the history, we’ve all read that. So if there is something you want us to know, this is the time.”

Gonzales pressed on, alleging the HLC had continued to fail the college from an accreditation stand-point. “The HLC has failed to carefully and objectively vet information provided to it by Pima Community College,” he said.

C-FAIRR, according to Gonzales, is concerned about what it sees as various shortcomings at Pima. Concerns range from the recent increase in tuition for local students (and decrease for out-of-state students) to diversity among the college staff.

Carol Gorsuch, a former Pima instructor, also voiced her concerns. She brought up multiple cases of alleged abuse of executive power. Specifically, she cited the case of former chemistry instructor David Katz.

“David Katz decided to take a stand, not only for himself but for all other faculty and staff who he knew had been targeted unfairly by the college administration. In July 2016 a federal judge ruled in his favor,” Gorsuch said.

Because of his previous positions, that case and other such cases are especially damning to Chancellor Lee Lambert, according to Gorsuch. “His two previous jobs included director of affirmative action and director of HR.”

Gorsuch and Gonzales also criticized the finalized HLC focus visit schedule and the “hand-picked” nature of groups put forth by the college.

“You won’t be meeting with any focus groups composed of local residents, who no longer find Pima reaching out to them to provide once valuable educational services,” Gorsuch said.

Former Interim Chancellor and Provost Zelma Harris rounded out the C-FAIRR speakers. Her focus was on what she sees as “unprecedented” shutting out of C-FAIRR’s constituency.

“This is the first time in my 40-year history being involved in the community college movement that I have seen a community group representing a large constituency so totally disrespected, rebuffed, ignored and in fact not taken seriously,” Harris said.

There was some confusion as the meeting ended, with C-FAIRR representatives attempting to hand a packet of information to the reviewers, only to be told that was against policy.

“We can not accept any materials that have not been officially submitted,” Poole said.

For the HLC to truly help Pima, Gonzales and C-FAIRR see only one solution. “Our position is that PCC either remain on notice, or be placed again on probation.”

That notion, for the most part, was not shared at the larger community forum held later in the day. Many of PCC’s business, nonprofit and corporate partners were present and represented, letting their perspectives be known.

Many invitees praised PCC’s workforce development program and its student workers.

“The work force development team have aligned their goals with our goals, which helps align their programs and curriculum with the industry,” said Raytheon representative Patricia Brown.

Edwin Marquez of Southern Arizona Leadership Council expressed excitement “about Pima connecting with local businesses to help supply a quality workforce here in Tucson. I think the current administration is doing a great job.”

Other members, such as Arizona State University’s Kelle Masyln, praised Lambert for the positive changes in the college’s culture and programs.

“Over the last three years we have had a great working relationship with Lee Lambert,” Maslan said.

“He has really focused on many positive changes that benefit the student by aligning more with university programs. So when they go to universities, they’re prepared.”

Ted Maxwell, also of Southern Arizona Leadership Council, echoed that sentiment. “Chancellor Lambert, and the college as a whole, have given the community a great opportunity (for upward mobility).”

Dave Perry, president of the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce, concurred.

“Chancellor Lambert has brought a new level of engagement along with the new leadership he has at the college. While doing that I think the college has stepped up its internal controls,” Perry said.

While the vast majority of speakers seemed pleased or heaped praise on PCC, the last speaker of the meeting, Luis Gonzales, was critical of the institution.

“Much of this has focused on personality. I don’t think this a problem with the chancellor,” he said.

“Transparency is still a problem, just read the newspapers. And I am very concerned myself about litigation coming down. It does not speak well of the college.”

With the conclusion of the focus visit, the HLC will now consider its findings and render a verdict on PCC’s accreditation status. A final decision will be handed down by the HLC’s governing board on Feb. 22, 2017.


A previous version of the story had identified Kelle Masyln of ASU as ‘Kellan Maslan.’ It has since been corrected. The Aztec Press regrets the error.

Student Veterans of America seeks reboot

Student Veterans of America seeks reboot


Student Veterans of America, a national veterans organization, is re-energizing the veterans center in room RV150 at Pima Community College Downtown Campus.

The organization, which started in 2008, has organized to protect the GI Bill from cutbacks. The bill benefits helps veterans cover costs of education or training.

Air Force veteran Kyle Hughes said there are close to 32 interested individuals willing to help the community including students, veterans, active duty and family members.

“The best advocate for you is the person next to you,” Hughes said. “Specially if they’ve been through the same things as you.”

Hughes said people know the veterans center mostly for its barbecues, which they plan to continue.

However he also mentioned education going along with it. The veterans center wants to inform everyone about the rights that they have and provide outlets if they have any grievances.

“The veterans center isn’t only for the leadership, but also for the community as a whole. The more people we have the better grasp we have about what is happening on the ground,” Hughes said. “If we can’t identify the problem, we can’t take the steps to fix it.”

Veterans are working toward a social media campaign and also hope to set up centers at every PCC campus.

The number of veterans accessing benefits to attend traditional class schedules over the past two years is close to a $2 million dollar enterprise, Hughes said.

“There’s a lot of money coming from the veterans administration and using the benefits, and it’s been somewhat discounted,” he said.

The group’s goal is to help others succeed and make their voices be heard, Hughes said.

“When people raise certain issues, they may have fell through the cracks and at the center we want to hear anyone that’s been disenfranchised,” he said. “If they feel like they’ve been wronged, need more information or just someone to listen to them.”

PCC is a community that helps each other out not only through school but also in life, he added.

“There’s guys that haven’t been to the hospital and have a lingering issue from when they were in and the big community of PCC helps overall with health wellness and brotherhood,” Hughes said. “If you got nobody to lean on, it’s going to be a tough ride.”

Vietnam-era veteran Jim Woloshin said having an organization like the Student Veterans of America would have made a difference for him.

“I wish we had this when I got out,” Woloshin said. “It’s wonderful.”

SPEAKERS' SERIES: Instructor talks will reveal insider tips of their trades

SPEAKERS’ SERIES: Instructor talks will reveal insider tips of their trades


Trying to convince a professional photojournalist, psychology instructor and automotive guru to reveal tips of their trades might feel like a hopeless endeavor.

Pima Community College’s free 2016 Fall Speakers’ Series will make those worlds available to guests during three talks.

Each presentation will begin at 6 p.m. in the PCC District Office Community Board Room, located in Building C at 4905 E. Broadway Blvd. Light refreshments will be available.

The series opens Oct. 4 with a presentation by Cynthia Lancaster, lead faculty for the journalism department. She will discuss “Ten Ways to Improve Your Photography” from her photojournalism textbook.

Lancaster teaches photojournalism and other journalism subjects at West Campus, and has been the faculty adviser for the Aztec Press student newspaper since 2007. She received an Outstanding Faculty of the Year award in 2013.

She spent more than three decades working as a reporter, editor and photojournalist in Arizona and Texas.

Her freelance photography has been featured in travel section cover stories in publications such as the Los Angeles Times and Dallas Morning News.

Lancaster wrote her e-textbook while on sabbatical in Fall 2015, because she couldn’t find any decent photojournalism books for her classes.

“I’ve taught photojournalism for more than 10 years, and I compiled my material into a textbook,” Lancaster said.

Lancaster’s talk will focus on photojournalism as opposed to art photography. Topics will include learning to see visually and telling stories through photography.

She’ll also share technical and creative tips for all skill levels.

“It should appeal to all levels from beginning to advanced photographers,” she said.

The series continues Nov. 1 with psychology instructor Olga Carranza presenting a talk on “Staying Present and Purposeful in a Dynamic Classroom.”

Carranza earned her Ph.D. in psychology and will present new research on teaching students with different learning styles.

The series concludes Dec. 6 with Pima automotive technology instructor Skylar Webb’s “Truths and Myths of Auto Repair.”

Webb will provide tips on finding a solid repair shop and avoiding overpriced car costs. He’ll also offer his perspective on the automotive industry.

For more information about the Speakers’ Series, call 206-4500.



Downtown Campus to host voter registration drives

Mi Familia Vota, a group that seeks to mobilize Latino voters, will hold a series of voter registration drives at Downtown Campus in the atrium of Room CC-115.

Registrations will be Sept. 29, Oct. 4, Oct. 5 and Oct. 10 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

For more information, contact Diego Martinez Barrera at or call 304-4611.

-By Arlaeth Ramirez


Blood drive truck to visit West Campus on Oct. 6

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive Oct. 6 at West Campus.

A Bloodmobile will be parked from 9 a.m-3 p.m. in the south parking lot area where the food trucks are usually located.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 1-800-733-2767 or visit and enter sponsor code pccwest.

-By S. Paul Bryan


Breast cancer awareness topic for brown bag series

The Northwest Campus will hold a brown bag series for Breast Cancer Awareness on Oct. 4 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Student Life Center, Room D-201.

The free event will include a display and Powerpoint slides. Attendees will be give ribbons to help raise awareness.

For more information, contact the Student Life Center at 206-2121 or Tiffany Hastings-Kibbler at

-By Brittney Young


Oct. 15 event to showcase technology challenges

Pima Community College and Women in Technology will co-sponsor a science, technology, engineering and math showcase on Oct. 15 from 1-4:45 p.m. at West Campus.

Activities in the cafeteria and gym will include exhibits and interactive activities, STEM micro-workshops, a WIT panel discussion and a career exploration expo hosted by JobPath.

A Challenge Spotlight will feature five teams competing for seed funding for STEM projects they launched over the summer. Each team is made up of PCC students, faculty and staff, and business/industry mentors.

Keynote speaker Nagin Cox, a NASA/JPL engineer and U.S. State Department citizen ambassador, will talk at 3 p.m.

For further information, contact Michael Peel at or 904-5237.

-By S. Paul Bryan

AZTEC CALENDAR: Sept. 29-Oct. 12

AZTEC CALENDAR: Sept. 29-Oct. 12

Tucson Events

Through Oct. 9: Mount Lemmon Oktoberfest, Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, 10300 Ski Run Road. Monday, Thursday, Friday 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Details:

Through Nov. 13: “Frankenstein,” The Gaslight Theatre, 7010 E. Broadway Blvd. Tuesday-Thursday: 7 p.m.; Friday, Saturday: 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.; Sunday: 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. $18.95 Details:

Through Oct. 30: Mini Time Machine-Jean Leroy’s Buzzard Creek Ghost Town, 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive. Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday noon-4 p.m., closed Mondays. $9. Details:

Sept. 29-Oct. 31: Nightfall at Old Tucson, 201 S. Kinney Road. Thursday 6-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 6 p.m.-midnight; Sunday 6-10 p.m., Halloween night 6-10 p.m. $28 plus tax. Details:

Sept. 30: Tucson Pride on Parade, Fourth Avenue and Second Street, 7-8 p.m., $12 at gate, $10 for students, seniors & military. Details:

Oct. 1: Tucson Pride in the Park, Reid Park, 900 S. Randolph Way, noon-sunset. $12 at gate and $10 for students, seniors & military. Details:

Oct. 1-2: Oro Valley Music Festival, 955 W. Vistoso Highlands Drive. Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m. $85. Details:

Oct. 7-9: Tucson Meet Yourself, Downtown Tucson, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. Details:

Oct. 10-May 31, 2017: Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life, Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way. Daily 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. $9-$13 adult; $8-$12 senior/military; $5-$7.50 children 4-17. Details:

Movie Openings

Theater releases

Sept. 29

“Deep Water Horizon”

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”


“American Denial”

Oct. 7

“The Greasy Strangler”

“Voyage of Time”

“The Birth of a Nation”

“The Girl on the Train”

“Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life”

Oct. 11

“Shin Godzilla”

Oct. 12


“Good Kids”

DVD/ Blu-Ray Releases

Oct. 4

“Stephen King’s IT”

“The Demolisher”


“Swiss Army Man”

“Into the Forest”

“The Mind’s Eye”

“Complete Unknown”

“The Purge: Election Year”

“American Horror Story: Hotel”

“X-Men Apocalypse”

“Breaking Bad: The Complete Series”

“The Shining”

Oct. 11

“Pan’s Labyrinth”

“Boiling Point”

“Blood Father”

“Ice Age: Collision Course”

“The Legend of Tarzan”



“The Thing”

Live Music

Sept. 30: Pride! At the Rilato, Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., 8 p.m. $15-$50. Details:

Oct. 1: SiriusXM Presents The Summer Set – Made For You Tour 2016, The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave. 8 p.m., $17-$20. Details:

Oct. 3: City and Colour, Rialto Theatre, 7 p.m. $30-$45. Details:

Oct. 4: St. Lucia, Rialto Theatre, 7:30 p.m., $20-$25. Details:

Oct. 6: The Head and the Heart, Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., 6:30 p.m., $37 – $84, Details:

Oct. 6: Hippie Sabotage, Rialto Theatre, 7 p.m., $20-$65. Details:

Oct. 9: Chris Young, AVA Amphitheatre, 5655 W. Valencia Road, 7 p.m. $25-$65. Details:

Oct. 9: Awolnation, Rialto Theatre, 7 p.m., $25 – $155. Details:


Sept. 24: Men’s soccer vs. Paradise Valley CC, Kino North Stadium, 4:30 p.m.

Sept.24: Women’s soccer vs. Paradise Valley CC, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.

Sept.28: Volleyball vs. Mesa CC, West Campus gym, 7 p.m.

Oct.4: Men’s soccer vs. Yavapai College, Kino North Stadium, 4:30 p.m.

Oct.4: Women’s soccer vs. Cochise College, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.

Oct.5: Volleyball vs. Phoenix College, West Campus gym, 7 p.m.

Oct.6: Men’s soccer vs. Scottsdale CC, Kino North Stadium, 4:30 p.m.

Oct.6: Women’s soccer, vs. Scottsdale CC, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.

Oct.7: Volleyball vs. Scottsdale CC, Pima West Campus, 7 p.m.

Oct.8: Football vs. Eastern Arizona College, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.

Oct.11: Men’s Soccer vs Chandler-Gilbert CC, Kino North Stadium, 4:30 p.m.

Oct.11: Women’s soccer vs Chandler-Gilbert CC, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.

Campus events

Through Oct. 15: Hispanic Heritage Month, Northwest Campus, D-201, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Details: 206-2121

Sept. 29, Oct. 4, Oct. 5, Oct. 10: Mi Familia Vota voter registration, Downtown Campus, CC-115, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Details: 304-4611

Sept. 30: Tucson, Clean and Beautiful, Desert Vista Campus, Student Life room, 8:30-10:30 a.m. Details: 206-5026

Oct. 4: Breast Cancer Awareness Brown Bag Series, Northwest Campus, D-201, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Details: 206-2121

Oct. 6: Blood Drive, West Campus south parking lot, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Details:

Oct. 6: National Depression and Mental Health Screening: Desert Vista Campus, counselor’s office, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Details: 206-5026

Oct.12: Healthy Relationship “Tea consent,” Northwest Campus, D-201, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Details: 206-2121


Nursing group plans fundraisers

Nursing group plans fundraisers


The Student Nursing Association of Pima is holding a series of fundraisers to pay for a Pinning Ceremony.

Each year’s nursing graduates must generate funds to finance the ceremony.

“I witnessed it once and it’s kind of tear jerking,” SNAP public relations officer Kyyrstyn Schuldt said of the ceremony. “Your instructors are there and they’re welcoming you into the fold of being a nurse.”

In addition to raising funds, SNAP sponsors events to promote the organization for students who might want to try nursing.

“The goal of our association is to support the students, reach out to the community, do community-building activities, and things like that,” Schuldt said.

Upcoming events include an AIDS Walk at Reid Park, multiple bake sales and a Bra Pong.

SNAP will host its Bra Pong on Oct. 4 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the courtyard of West Campus building D. The event, designed to support breast cancer awareness, will give students an opportunity to play a non-alcoholic version of “beer pong” using bra cups

PCC awaits accreditation ‘focus visit’

PCC awaits accreditation ‘focus visit’

Pima Community College student Ricquel Burnham studies in the cafeteria at Northwest Campus. The Higher Learning Commission will visit all PCC campuses Sept. 26-27

Pima Community College student Ricquel Burnham studies in the cafeteria at Northwest Campus. The Higher Learning Commission will visit all PCC campuses Sept. 26-27


Pima Community College’s long struggle to maintain its accreditation may be coming to an end, according to college officials.

The Higher Learning Commission will make a “focus visit” to all PCC campuses Sept. 26-27. Its governing board will then meet in February 2017 to review Pima’s accreditation status.

The HLC is an accrediting board that evaluates whether institutions of higher learning meet criteria to have their degree programs recognized by other colleges and universities.

PCC Vice Chancellor of Accreditation Bruce Moses said Pima is ready to get out of the figurative doghouse.

“It’s been almost four years now, two on probation, about 16 months on notice,” he said. “The college is ready to get out from under this. It’s time to shed this.”

Moses believes the current semester is PCC’s most important ever.

“I’ve said that it’s the most critical semester, because it is,” he said. “We don’t need students and the public to be worrying about this, we need to get back to even keel.”

Chancellor Lee Lambert concurs.

“The upcoming HLC focus visit is the first step in getting Pima back,” he said. “You can see evidence of that at every campus.”

Identifying initiatives

Moses is a former research analyst and a current peer reviewer for the HLC. His Pima position was created specifically to help deal with implementation of data tracking systems.

PCC has responded to HLC concerns by identifying areas of deficiency and implementing various information systems.

Moses and his team developed 26 initiatives within 11 areas of concern highlighted by the HLC. From there, they grouped the initiatives into four categories. By last fall, about 40 percent of the initiatives identified had been completed.

All identified initiatives have been addressed, according to Moses.

“To date, based on the report we submitted, we’ve addressed all of them,” he said. “The HLC will say, ‘how much evidence can you produce?’ to try and prove that.”

Humanities instructor Michael Parker, who served as lead writer for Pima’s compliance report to the HLC, echoed Moses’ remarks.

“Pretty much everything has been done to improve towards those standards,” he said. “I know sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.”

Mario Gonzales, chairman for the Tucson-based Coalition for Accountability, Integrity, Respect and Responsibility, said his organization sees things differently.

“As far as C-FAIRR is concerned, there are quite a few areas of concern that definitely need improvement,” he said.

Gonzalez calls C-FAIRR a community-centered watchdog group made up of “mostly retirees and locals.”

The group’s areas of concern include “a continued culture of silence” and diversity issues within Pima’s hiring process.

“We understand the spin that has to go on at the college,” Gonzales said. “It’s not as rosy as the administration wants people to believe.”

The beginning of sanctions

Pima has been in the HLC’s crosshairs since late 2012.

After voicing concerns about the leadership of then-Chancellor Roy Flores, C-FAIRR filed a complaint with the HLC.

CFAIRR’s initial complaints centered on actions by Flores and on concerns about a move away from open enrollment.

An ensuing HLC investigation found unaddressed sexual harassment allegations against Flores, a work environment based on intimidation and policies that conflicted with the purpose of the college.

HLC investigators listed 11 major areas of concern, ranging from the tracking of student learning outcomes to a “culture of fear.”

The findings set off a chain of events that eventually lead to the HLC placing the college on probation. The probation period was lifted in February 2015, and since that time PCC has been on “notice.”

Mark Hanna, chair of PCC’s Board of Governors, said the era of sanctions has deterred new students from enrolling.

“There are many factors involved in our enrollment drop; the specter of uncertainty in terms of accreditation has played a part,” Hanna said. “Once that is completely removed … confidence will be restored and that will have a positive effect.”

Board of Governors fears have been soothed, according to Hanna.

“Based on the reports that have been presented to us and our own personal observations of the work being done by our great faculty and staff, we are optimistic about the upcoming visit from the HLC,” he said.

Addressing key issues

The HLC will require evidence documenting the success of newly implemented programs, according to a letter sent to the college in March 2015.

The letter, which informed the college that it would be moved off probation and put on notice, also listed what PCC must do to reach full compliance with HLC accreditation guidelines.

Actions focus on collecting “evidence of the effectiveness of newly adopted policies, processes and procedures.”

Some systems were easy to implement but it will take time to prove their effectiveness, Moses said. He cited Pima’s new Strategic Student Enrollment Plan as an example.

“The SSEP was something the HLC just told us to implement,” he said. “They didn’t ask us to prove that it was effective, because they realize the difficulty of implementing a plan of this magnitude in one year. It’s going to take time before we realize how effective it is.”

Parker agrees. “Look at the letter the HLC sent us,” he said. “They say, ‘It looks like you’ve put the things in place that are needed to remedy this, but not enough time has elapsed to test their effectiveness.’”

Other systems will prove more difficult, for implementation and data collection.

For instance, the HLC requested “evidence of the effectiveness of the assessment process for making changes to the teaching and learning process based on learning outcomes, including documentation of the completion of assessment cycles in all programs.”

That takes time, Moses said.

“Typically you want to collect longitudinal data which is three years or more, to determine whether a system is effective or not,” he said. “Some of the programs we’ve instituted for just a semester or two. But the HLC understands our timeline.”

Fostering culture change

Pima’s initiatives are part of a larger change, according to Moses.

In past years, he said, the college “would put something in place, and it would die out after a year or so. It wouldn’t be sustained.”

And now?

“There is a strong, conscious effort where we put systems and processes in and we are evaluating them constantly,” he said.

From C-FAIRR’s perspective, that’s just not the case.

“We don’t believe the college’s culture has changed,” Gonzales said. “They still operate under a cloak of secrecy. We don’t believe they are better than when they were placed on probation.”

Focus visit outcomes

Pima’s change in culture, or lack thereof, will be on display and put to the test during the upcoming HLC focus visit.

The visit will bring one of three possible outcomes.

The first is being removed from “notice” completely.

The second would see the college removed from notice but continue to provide the HLC with reports on deficient areas.

The third, least desirable outcome is a “show-cause” finding by the HLC.

Show-cause would essentially give Pima a year to justify why it should keep its accreditation.

The third option won’t happen, Moses said.

“I’m confident we’ll be taken off notice,” he said. “Now, will we have to report to the HLC on some things? Probably. But show-cause? No.”

Chancellor Lambert also expressed confidence.

“I am very optimistic we will come off ‘notice,’” he said. “I am very confident we are moving in the right direction as an institution.”

The Board of Governors thinks so as well, according to Hanna.

“We also are confident that the HLC will indeed remove our ‘notice’ status when their board convenes in February to review our case,” Hanna said.

Continued progress

While all parties connected to the college expressed confidence in PCC’s ability to finally rid itself of the specter of sanctions, Moses stressed that continued progress is especially important.

“It’s real important that the HLC sees progress all the way through this semester, because the decision will be based on data derived all the way up until then,” he said.

Though PCC has come a long way, Hanna said, there will still be oversight of some kind.

“There is no doubt that we will have to strictly monitor and report on the issues they have pointed out to us in their reports, as well as plenty of other challenges our college faces in terms of continuous improvement,” he said.

THE WORD: Did you have any trouble with financial aid this semester?

THE WORD: Did you have any trouble with financial aid this semester?

Photos and interviews by Casey Muse Jr. and Nick Trujillo on West Campus


Major: Astronomy Devante Howard

“The only problem I had was transferring my financial aid from Tohano O’odham (Community College) to Pima.”

Devante Howard

Major: Astronomy


“Yes, I have had to drop a class I really wanted to take because my financial aid says that it is not a transferable credit.”

Nick Roxas

Major: Liberal Arts


“When I was registering for financial aid, the system had issues processing everything.”

Sarah Roxas

Major: Liberal Arts


“It’s hard to get my parents to fill out the information and then I just forgot about it, to be honest.”

Mariana Eubanks

Major: Engineering


“I don’t qualify for financial aid. My parents make too much.”

Ja’len Edwards

Major: Business