By ANDREW PAXTON
The United States is becoming a more dangerous place for journalists to practice their trade, according to a recent report that blasts America for its treatment of reporters and their sources.
The World Press Freedom Index, compiled by the international group Reporters Without Borders, “spotlights the negative impact of conflicts on freedom of information and its protagonists” and ranks each country.
America ranks an unimpressive 46th on the list, dropping an unlucky 13 spots from its position on last year’s list. The full report can be viewed at rsf.org/2014.
The report notes the United States suffered “one of the most significant declines, amid increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the source of leaks.”
Although America is far safer for journalists than a vast number of other countries, it simply isn’t good enough. A country that has freedom for the press guaranteed in its Constitution shouldn’t rank behind nearly four dozen other nations when it comes to protection for the media.
This index highlights the need for a federal shield law to protect journalists from revealing their sources. Currently, there is no national standard for keeping sources confidential. Journalists rely on a hodgepodge of local statues and judicial decisions for safety from prosecution.
The Society of Professional Journalists is asking its members to support the Free Flow of Information Act (S. 987), which would prevent a federal entity from compelling journalists to testify or produce documents related to their work.
Without a guarantee of protection, whistleblowers and other sources will be scared to come forward and less information will be made available to the general public.
The government is attempting to suppress anyone who questions its motivations or practices. One recent example is the government’s monitoring of phone calls and emails from the Associated Press to contacts overseas.
In an era where sensitive material is tightly controlled, revelations by whistleblowers are one of the leading methods for the press to receive insider information. A shield law would protect journalists from relinquishing that data or revealing who supplied it.
A national shield law would be a crucial step toward America getting back on the path of true freedom of the press. Until journalists and their sources feel safe to provide information without persecution, our country will continue its steady decline on the road to oppression.
By NICK MEYERS
The Arizona legislature has sent a bill to the governor’s desk that would legalize discrimination, prompting outrage across the state and questions from around the globe.
SB 1062 would allow businesses to refuse service to any customer, based on the beliefs of the owner. The bill passed both houses of the state legislature.
The bill protects businesses from persecution under state law for refusing service to “any individual, partnership or other legal entity” if they interfere with observance of the business owner’s religion.
The apparent need for such legislation stems from a recent New Mexico lawsuit where a photographer refused to photograph the wedding of a gay couple.
The case resulted in the New Mexico Supreme Court ruling in favor of the couple, citing human rights clauses of the state law.
The only problem is, Arizona has no such law.
Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, ushered through the bill despite staunch opposition from Democrats.
He insists the bill “…is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith.”
The final nail in the coffin is that Arizona doesn’t include sexual orientation under anti-discrimination laws. While a startling fact itself, it also means that the bill is redundant in protecting businesses from lawsuits on grounds of discrimination against sexuality.
Minority leader Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson sees SB 1062 differently.
“It permits discrimination under the guise of religious freedom,” she said. “Many Arizonans will find themselves members of a separate and unequal class under this law because of their sexual orientation.”
Does that sound like a state we want to live in? I don’t.
Legislation should be focused on the other end of the spectrum, mandating that businesses providing a public service can’t discriminate against the public they serve. While human rights is the main issue, my concern extends beyond social policy.
We must also consider potential economic detriments. Many tourists may hesitate to visit a state that openly permits intolerance.
At press time, the bill rested in the hands of Gov. Jan Brewer. She must decide whether to sign, veto or simply allow it to pass into law.
“It’s a very controversial piece of legislation. We know that. We know that it’s failed in a lot of states across the country,” Brewer said. “I’ve got to get my hands around it.”
At a time when the eyes of the nation are focused on Arizona, why are we opening the door for discrimination, when we should be closing it?
Meyers is a student of journalism and economics at Pima who enjoys following changes in the economic environment. He hopes to provide the public with knowledge and perspective through his writing.
By Ebony Stoglin
As an African-American female, I am fully aware of the disadvantages that I face.
Affirmative action, also known as positive discrimination, is not the solution for erasing those disadvantages.
It really doesn’t create equality. If anything, affirmative action highlights racial, ethnic and gender differences in employment and educational settings.
Affirmative action in its essence is a policy that grants favor to any member or group of people who are disadvantaged and most likely to face discrimination.
This means that an employer may be forced to give a job to somebody based on race or gender while disregarding other potential employees they may have.
Yes, we know that not all things are equal in the workplace.
According to a recent report by the National Partnership for Women and Families, women in America are paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.
The report also revealed that the situation is worse for women of color.
On average, women of color are paid 70 cents for every dollar paid to men and just 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
In education, some universities now consider race in their admissions process, a process which has faced numerous court challenges. The goal is to create diversity within the university.
But the end result is that many students get turned down, not because they don’t meet all requirements but because of criteria based on skin color or gender instead of merit.
This affirmative action practice is the government’s way of saying that since minorities can’t get admitted to universities or get hired on their own, they are going to hand it over to us to be “fair.”This is an insult to minorities nationwide.
Martin Luther King Jr., a true advocate for equality, emphasized that he didn’t want people to be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Supporters of affirmative action are completely missing the point of King’s message by focusing on race and gender.
Instead of focusing on race, ethnicity and gender, we must focus on how to create a level playing field for everyone.
Hopefully, America will realize that true equality will fully exist when the only race that matters is the human race.
By AMANDA OIEN
A storm rolled into the quiet town of Yarnell, Ariz., on the evening of June 28, 2013. Dark clouds filled the summer sky and lightning struck dry, brush-covered hills.
The lightning ignited a forest fire that burned 8,400 acres.
Of the 350 firefighters assigned to the blaze, 20 were elite Granite Mountain Hotshots trained in tactics to suppress wildfires.
Strong winds shifted unexpectedly on June 30, trapping 19 Hotshots. They did not have time to deploy their last-resort emergency fire shelters and the men were killed in action.
This past December, my family and I traveled to our winter break getaway in Prescott. During our stay, we decided to make the 33-mile drive to Yarnell.
After a beautiful drive through canyons and open farmland populated by horses and cattle, we were greeted with a sign welcoming us to Yarnell.
With a population of just 649, Yarnell exemplifies a close-knit community. When we tried to visit the general store, we found the door locked. A flimsy, slightly crumpled paper taped to the window pane said the owner had gone to lunch.
After much driving to find the town’s makeshift memorial, we found it hidden behind the Ranch House restaurant on Highway 89. On a small hill behind the restaurant, three large photo boards stand on burned ground.
The first two boards share stories and photos for each of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots. Mementos left by family, friends and visitors shadow the displays. Especially touching: fire department baseball hats from all over Arizona and the United States.
The last photo board is tucked farther up on a small slope. The hill looks over Highway 89 to the site where the 19 Hotshots breathed their last breath. You can use provided binoculars to see an American flag that marks the area where the 19 Hotshots fell.
The 100 Club of Arizona is an organization that provides financial assistance to families of public safety and firefighters when serious injury, death or life-altering situations occur.
With hard work by staffers and volunteers, the 100 Club raised $2.2 million through donations and fundraisers. The money will be used to meet the needs of those affected by the Yarnell tragedy.
Funeral expenses, memorial services and counseling are just a few items covered by the club with the community’s help.
If you are in northern Arizona, I encourage you to visit Yarnell.
“Yarnell 19” signs can still be seen inside shops and restaurants. Purple ribbons hang from trees and fences.
Seeing the memorials to the 19 Hotshots is an incredibly moving and humbling experience.
By Katie Stewart
Most college students share stressful experiences such as classes at odd hours, extensive homework and long hours at a job. Some also face mental health issues.
Anyone, including college students, can be affected by mental illness.
You can seem totally fine one minute, then suddenly feel everyday life squeezing the oxygen out of you.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates 26.2 percent of U.S. residents ages 18 and older suffer from mental issues such as bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
The constant pressures of school can spawn depression in college students, according to NIMH.
About 30 percent of college students reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” at some time in the past year, according to an American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment.
More than 6 percent of college students consider suicide and about 1 percent attempt suicide, the ACHA-NCHA said.
Family members who don’t have the disease really don’t understand what people are going through. They sometimes think students are just looking for attention, being dramatic or are too high-strung.
Depressed or anxious students who don’t understand themselves can feel out of place and constantly hope the world won’t come crashing down. They never really live life to the fullest.
When an illness is at its worst and pressure is at its peak, irrational thinking can make actions result in bad consequences.
“Many people with anxiety have severe problems with anxious and irrational thinking,” according to literature from the Calm Clinic.
“They know their thoughts are irrational, and yet struggle to convince themselves of the more logical and reasoned response.”
Anyone dealing with mental health issues needs coping methods to make it through the hard times.
Some patients use prescription medication such as Prozac, Zoloft and Xanax.
Those who don’t seek professional help may rely on recreational drugs and alcohol, self-mutilation or even suicide to rid themselves of the constant pain.
Others deal with their illness through natural methods such as meditation and exercise.
Successful coping methods teach people to recognize their early symptoms and find healthy ways to achieve a more peaceful mindset.
Experts suggest that people with mental illness engage in their treatment by knowing what they have and asking the questions they need answered.
Other tips: Find support from loved ones who understand, avoid alcohol and substances that could make the illness worse, and stay rested.
People dealing with stress may push their mind and body to a breaking point.
It is better to ease up on the work and school load. Take a break, take a breath.
Many resist asking for help because they don’t want to be seen as weak. But sometimes, asking for help is the only way to get help.
Finding successful coping methods can help people manage their disease and may change the stigma of mental illness.
If you or anyone you may know is dealing with mental illness or high stress, call or email the National Institute of Health at (301) 443-4536 or email NIMHpress@mail.nih.gov.
Helpful websites, books and movies about mental illness include:
• National Institutes of Health: nimh.nih.gov
• National Alliance on Mental Illness: nami.org
• “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath
• “Prozac Nation” by Elizabeth Wurtzel
• “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012)
• “Girl, Interrupted” (1999)
By JAY BECKER-NORMAN
Engagement announcements on Facebook? Sonograms on Instagram?
If you’re like me, you have witnessed how rapidly adolescence is fleeting, or rather has fleeted.
I stand for commitment and settling down, but a mere two to three short years out of high school is just too soon for young people to hand in their independence. Marriage and parenthood is better suitedforlater in life.
Some of these brave individuals haven’t lived long enough to know the true financial and independent aspects of adulthood. I, at the very least, sure haven’t.
And when it comes time to go out on a Friday or Saturday, don’t count on your little one or spouse to be so willing to let you go.
The average life expectancy rate today is about 80 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. An early wedding or child trades 60 or so years of independence, life experience and career establishment.
Getting married and producing offspring aredecisions that will foreverremain a staple in your life.
I believe today’s young adults are playing in to the fast pace of the times and the ubiquity and quickening evolution of technology. As part of the “Now Generation,” we have been cultured to live in the moment rather than live for tomorrow.
I could list fact upon statistic about income and living situations, but we all know that 19- to 21-year-olds aren’t the top-earning age group.
Moreover, unless you have just recently “mastered” the art of living independently from your own parents, you’re most likely not best-suited to becoming one of them yourself.
To those out there who have taken on the task of children or marriage at this youthful time in life, I applaud you for your courage and integrity, assuming you haven’t exploited yourself for any version of the “Teen Mom” saga.
Parenthood has no map. One must forgo those uncharted waters to know where one has been.
Don’t rush the future to make more out your present, enjoy life. Don’t be part of Ke$ha’s “Die Young” initiative.
Think long term, big picture, and be your own star.
Becker-Norman is neither pro-family nor pro-bachelor. He is neither pro-abortion nor pro-life. He stands on the side of pro-thought.
By JENNIFER GRAHAM
Every February, couples and singles alike start anticipating the arrival of Valentine’s Day.
Whether they’re dreading spending it alone or setting their hopes far too high, they all participate in the commotion.
It’s supposed to be a celebration of love, but we’ve turned it into a chocolate-overloaded day of stress.
I’m not a particularly romantic person, and don’t find joy in someone else providing it. Valentine’s Day has always been incredibly awkward for me.
I tend to spend the evening pretending to enjoy the attention and my cheeks usually hurt from the fake smile plastered on my face. Sorry to all my past V-day dates, but I’d rather spend the night in.
Clearly I have a biased opinion concerning Valentine’s Day but for your own sake, and those of your loved ones, chill out. There is no excuse for childish fits or unwarranted tears.
Your relationship will not end if the day doesn’t go as planned. If by some chance it does, you probably weren’t meant to be together.
As children we celebrated Valentine’s Day by exchanging cardboard valentines and Sweethearts candies. The most stressful part of the day was hoping the card from your crush said something special. If it didn’t, we moved on.
Those days are long gone, replaced with body image-related stress, high expectations and even bigger letdowns.
Chocolates, roses, expensive dinners and the promise of sex really don’t scream love any more than a cone of vanilla soft serve with rainbow sprinkles does.
While it’s hard to really pinpoint where this change took place, I assume for most of us it was with our first teenage or adult relationship.
Maybe we had jobs, allowances or some source of income that allowed us to participate in the uproar, or maybe the rush of our first love put us in that ooey-gooey place.
Either way, we’ve all hopefully matured.
I know it’s hard to imagine, but maybe it’s about time we all take a deep breath and let go of our expectations. After all, it’s just another day.
Placing importance on this holiday only makes us that much more vulnerable to the possibility of disappointment.
Graham is a lonely redhead in need of an attitude adjustment who suffers from a bad case of bitchy-resting-face. Valentine’s Day is not her day.
By ANDREW PAXTON
The debut issue of Aztec Press this semester featured an advertisement for an adult establishment. It was the first time such an ad has run in Pima Community College’s student newspaper in recent memory.
The advertisement, for Eden’s Cabaret and Café, has generated quite a bit of buzz, both positive and negative, so I felt the need to weigh in on the topic.
The decision to run this form of advertising was not made lightly or arbitrarily. The issue was discussed at length in the newsroom before I made my choice to allow the ad space to be purchased.
Again, to clarify, this decision was mine to make as editor-in-chief of a student-run college paper. I was not pressured one way or the other to make this choice.
I was a bit apprehensive to give the green light for this ad, but not because of any personal objections to the material or the type of establishment it promotes.
My anxiety instead wrested with the public reaction, and how people may think of me as the editor who allowed “that kind” of material into the paper.
I thought about my previous editor-in-chief and my faculty adviser, two women I look up to and whose opinions I respect, and envisioned them shaking their heads disapprovingly.
However, I stand by my decision to run the ad and will continue to run them in the future should the same or similar sponsors request purchasing ad space in our paper.
I worked with our advertising manager to ensure the ad wouldn’t be obscene or overly sexual. When I saw the final result, I had no objections to running it.
Quite frankly, the content was less objectionable than material easily found on cable television, the Internet and other local publications.
The questions regarding whether this material is acceptable in our society, the impact it has on women and our own morality have been and will be debated for a long time. In the grand scheme of things, one ad will not change the way the world thinks.
When I had the opportunity to browse hundreds of college newspapers from across the country during a media conference last semester, I was shocked at the X-rated content found in other student publications.
One college ran an entire magazine about sex, which featured copious amounts of adult advertising. By comparison, our one advertisement looks pretty tame.
In the end, the newspaper is a business. In order to publish, we need financial backers. Any legitimate business that is willing to invest money in a college newspaper is welcome in these pages.
By LOC TRAN
Anyone who believes even the slightest that skinny girls have it easier is awfully mistaken.
I’ve never been referred to as overweight, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what it feels like to be ridiculed for the appearance of my body.
Skinny-shaming is an issue countless people overlook.
No one takes the time to recognize how equally brutal skinny-shaming is compared to fat-shaming.
I’ve had plenty of people bash on me for how skinny I am.
To this day, I continue to be criticized for my size. The criticism made me uncomfortable in my own body, the same way it disparages the people who fall victim to fat-shaming.
No one will tell someone they’re fat straight to their face, but there’s no second-guessing when they feel a need to expresses how skinny one is.
Why is it offensive to inform someone when they’re overweight and should eat healthier or go to the gym, but it’s socially OK to tell a person they look like a skeleton and should put some meat on their bones?
People don’t appear to comprehend that skinny doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy.
According to the Gallup research company, the percentage of adults who are overweight declined from 36.1 percent to 35.5 percent in 2012. Adults of normal weight went from 35.9 percent to 35.3 percent.
Social media seems to encourage the constant battle of skinny versus fat.
An image with the words “real men like curves, only dogs go for bones,” is among the many social media posts I’ve come across that commit hate crimes against skinnier bodies.
Another example is an image of Marilyn Monroe from back in the day, next to a Victoria Secret model. The caption reads, “this is more attractive than this,” with an arrow pointed toward Monroe.
These and similar comments are uncalled for and distasteful.
The Victoria Secret models are without doubt some of the most beautiful women in the modeling industry but the company’s annual fashion show never ceases to bring controversy about their weight from watchers who claim they’re too skinny.
With this ongoing conflict, it’s hard to make out what we should really be focusing on: our health and well-being.
Being healthy should always be the ultimate goal, regardless of appearance.
Tran has grown to love and accept her body. She believes everyone should feel the same way about theirs, regardless of size.
By SEBASTIAN BARAJAS
Valentine’s Day produces color-induced vomiting in some people who can’t abide the overabundance of red during February.
It’s like something out of a music video from the early 2000s, where the main character is moving alone through a crowd of people in which everyone else has a significant other.
Much like the Grinch on Christmas, this is how some of us feel during Valentine’s Day — and justifiably so.
People spent $18.6 billion on Valentine’s Day last year, according to CNN. Individually, people spent about $130 on their sweetheart.
I’m no economist but that seems like a butt-load of money. It comes as no surprise, however, since companies have had decades to hone their craft and guilt us into buying commercialized emotion.
To illustrate my point, consider the Budweiser commercial featuring a puppy and a horse that aired during the Super Bowl. Yeah, I get it, they’re buds.
But take a closer look. The beer logo doesn’t actually appear until the end, which seems like false advertising. Now I want to buy a puppy or a Clydesdale. Thanks a lot for duping me, Budweiser.
With companies getting so good at selling and commerce reaching into the billions, it’s a bit of a wonder why America’s economy is still in the toilet.
With that in mind, we can see now why Valentine’s Day has such a commercial undertone while cleverly taking the guise of emotion.
I kind of appreciate just how low a company will stoop to make a buck. It’s sad, though, that people think buying a product can really quantify one’s love.
Most advertisements for such products border on the ridiculous but people still flock to purchase them.
After all, nothing says ‘I love you’ like getting your special someone a new personalized iPhone case that features you two sucking face in some hip filter with “I heart you baby boo” inscribed on your forehead. I exaggerate, but not by much.
Valentine’s Day is an overrated commercial experience that really brings out the capitalistic nature of our country.
I advise ignoring V-Day and going out with your special someone the next day. Not only will you avoid the wave of Hallmark insanity but you can more easily score dinner reservations.
The holiday is just another bombardment of commercial, pre-packaged, grass-fed, FDA-approved bullshit. The use of emotional incentive to market products is an aberrantly common practice.
Being the type of person who dislikes extortion, that’s something I personally cannot abide.
I believe there were some British gentlemen in the ‘60s who said something along the lines of “Can’t buy me love” and I stick to it.
The lead article in the Nov. 27–Dec.11 issue of the Aztec Press reported on a “Notice of Deficiencies” statement from the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
I have strong concerns about the accuracy of some information presented by the state board. I cannot help but wonder what kind of investigation was conducted of this “anonymous complaint.”
It was reported that “the ASBN notice also accused PCCEA [Pima Community College Educational Association] of … not supporting an increase in salary for nursing faculty.” This refers to events that occurred over six years ago.
As I was PCCEA’s chief spokesperson during a “Special Meet and Confer” held in the fall of 2007 regarding nursing faculty salaries, I have some knowledge about this issue.
At that time, we negotiated an across-the-board 30 percent increase for all nursing faculty. That increase remains in place, with nursing faculty members receiving 30 percent more than other PCC faculty members with comparable education and experience.
This information is available to anyone, as college salaries are a matter of public record.
Initially, the college only wanted to offer a one-time $10,000 stipend in order to recruit new nursing faculty.
Given that it was after negotiation with PCCEA that an ongoing 30 percent pay differential was put in place, it seems unjust to accuse PCCEA of not supporting an increase, particularly given that Marty Mayhew, dean of the nursing program, participated in those negotiations.
If Pima College continues to have difficulty retaining nursing faculty, it cannot be attributed to inadequate compensation and certainly cannot be laid at the feet of PCCEA.
Another falsehood put forth by the ASBN (at least as reported by the Aztec Press) is the accusation of PCCEA’s “requesting an opportunity to talk with faculty to seek out other areas of dissatisfaction.”
Prior to the Special Meet and Confer in 2007, several meetings were held with the nursing faculty.
It was important for the entire negotiating team to have a good understanding of the particular responsibilities, difficulties and, yes, possible areas of dissatisfaction of the nursing faculty before meeting with administration.
This continues as a completely rational practice. When a faculty member (or group) contacts PCCEA with a concern, PCCEA representatives will do their best to fully investigate the problem before initiating any action.
I have no doubt that the current difficulties with the nursing board are part of Roy Flores’ legacy. All of the West Campus administrators were appointed by Dr. Flores.
Characterizing the meeting of PCCEA representatives with nursing faculty as an attempt … “to seek out other areas of dissatisfaction”… is a continuation of the paranoid, non-collaborative management style fostered during his tenure.
Instead of bringing particular nursing program requirements to Meet and Confer negotiations so that these can be written into policy, these administrators seem to want to simply rule without regard to policy and then complain about being undermined when someone raises an objection.
Instead of conducting a proper investigation, ASBN seems to have relied upon the West Campus administration for its information.
The West Campus administrative team is at fault for attempting to place blame for its problems on PCCEA and its president, Ana Jiménez. The nursing board is at fault for conducting such a shallow investigation.
Like many current and past faculty members, I look forward to actions by our new chancellor, Lee Lambert, to repair the damaged climate left behind by the Flores administration.
Retired mathematics faculty
PCCEA chief spokesperson during the Fall 2007 Special Meet and Confer regarding nursing faculty salaries
By A. GREENE
The cafeterias at Pima Community College’s many campuses offer great snacks, sodas, sweets and full-size meals when your tummy is rumbling. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, there are even a couple of options to pick from if you don’t want to bring lunch from home.
It’s a bit of a pain to bring your own non-dairy milk, though. No one wants to bring a whole container of soy milk for one cup of joe, but the coffee bars in the cafeterias at PCC don’t offer an alternative milk option, like soy or almond.
According to a 2011 phone survey conducted by the Vegetarian Resource Group, 5 percent of the U.S. population is vegetarian and 2.5 percent is vegan. That’s about 7,500,000 people, roughly equivalent to the population of Los Angeles County.
That’s a lot of veg heads.
But even if you’re not vegan, the Wexner Medical Institute at Ohio State University estimates that 30 to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant. These folks probably wouldn’t mind a non-dairy option for their coffee, either.
Based on those numbers, it’s a safe bet that some Pima students are looking for a non-dairy option.
Of course, vegans and non-milk drinkers are still in the minority. It’s hard to expect special treatment, especially if one is making the choice to go against the grain and avoid animal products.
However, you’d be hard-pressed to find a coffee shop that didn’t have at least one non-dairy option.
As it turns out, requesting an addition to the cafeteria menu isn’t so difficult.
Angelica Salgado-Wood just started about a month ago as the general manager of food services for all PCC campuses.
Salgado-Wood said she’s working on making it easier for students to request a menu addition.
You can request an addition through the Sodexo website, but Salgado-Wood says it’s not quite up to snuff yet. She’s making some changes, and hopes to get a link to Sodexo on the Pima website.
Salgado-Wood said she is more than willing to provide a milk alternative in the cafeterias.
She said they’ll be getting rid of the creamers and offering carafes of milk instead. Adding soymilk, she said, would be an “easy fix.”
Solving the soymilk conundrum was simple. All it took was finding the right person. If you would like to make a menu request or change, contact Salgado-Wood at 206-0595 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greene is not a member of the vegan police but she does have vegan powers, like that guy in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”
By ANDREW PAXTON
Students and faculty at Pima Community College’s West Campus may have seen me during the recent “Welcome Week” and wondered why I was staffing an information table and handing out business cards.
There is a very good reason why I spent the better part of my morning trying to get the word out about Aztec Press, and it goes far beyond mere shameless self-promotion.
No, the one we really want to promote is you. Yes, YOU.
Whether you are a first-semester student or a faculty member with decades of experience, you probably either have a story or know someone who does. You just may not realize it yet.
What about the instructors who inspired you to change majors after they saw your true potential?
Or maybe a classmate who works at an interesting job, or is always telling stories in class that makes everyone else take notice?
We want to hear about them, so everyone else can know about them too.
Is your club having a fundraiser or guest speaker? Is it just getting off the ground and you want to spread the word? That’s what your student newspaper is here for.
Maybe you saw something in a class or around campus that just didn’t sit right with you. Perhaps there is an issue that you think needs to be addressed or has been ignored.
That’s what Aztec Press is all about.
We are your public forum, serving each of Pima’s six campuses and numerous learning centers. Our job is to serve you, our readers. And if we aren’t doing that, you need to let us know.
If you think our coverage has flaws, tell us what you think was wrong. We appreciate constructive criticism. At least we know someone out there is reading the stories we put so much effort into.
The newsroom telephone number is 206-6800.
You can also “like” Aztec Press on Facebook and leave messages there, or post comments on our website, aztecpressonline.com.
Whatever form you use, I encourage everyone reading this to contact us. Tell us what you think, whether it’s good, bad or somewhere in-between.
The only way we can get better is if we know what areas need improvement.
Pima Community College is currently on institutional probation and could face a loss of accreditation if operational changes aren’t made.
Pima’s accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission, identified numerous failures during a visit last January. It placed much of the blame on PCC’s leadership, including the board of governors.
Community business leaders, faculty, staff and students have launched a recall effort to remove two members of the governing board, Scott Stewart and Marty Cortez.
The group, Citizens for PCC Integrity, will also campaign aggressively against Brenda Even, who is up for re-election this year.
Stewart, Cortez and Even all served on Pima’s board during the time that the problems identified by the HLC occurred. They have faced numerous calls for their resignations, including from the Aztec Press, since the college was placed on probation last April.
Although the intentions of those seeking new leadership at Pima are justifiable, a recall effort at this juncture will not benefit the college.
Any recall process requires about a year to unfold. It takes time to collect thousands of petition signatures, call a special election and mount lengthy, damaging campaigns before an actual vote can be held.
Citizens for PCC Integrity hopes the recall vote would occur during the regular November election.
But the college must finish its comprehensive self-study by July. The HLC is sending its fact-finding team in August or September to reassess the college and determine whether its concerns have been adequately addressed.
The self-study and HLC visit will take place well before new board members could be seated, let alone have a chance to make changes.
All the while, board members who should be focusing on restoring Pima will be distracted by a fight to keep their jobs.
If the embattled board members had resigned immediately after the HLC released its report, like they should have, there would have been time for new members to make changes. But that didn’t happen.
The besieged board members have refused to resign in part because they want to fix their mistakes. The alternative to not giving them a chance could very well mean Pima losing accreditation.
While it is clearly not an ideal situation and may indeed be a bitter pill to swallow, everyone who wants the college to succeed should work with the current leadership to make the changes required.
It is simply too late for anything else.
Written on behalf of the Aztec Press Editorial Board by Editor-in-Chief Andrew Paxton.