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Monthly board meeting goes long, gets personal

Monthly board meeting goes long, gets personal

By EDDIE CELAYA

The March 8 Pima Community College Governing Board meeting will be remembered for two reasons: its nearly intolerable length and its bombshell accusations. A scheduled vote on the college’s most important issue, tuition rates, was postponed.

The nearly five and a half hour long meeting tested the patience of the board members, who openly sniped at each other verbally. Right off the bat, the public comment portion set the tone for the adversarial (and long) evening.

 

ISSUES IN HUMAN RESOURCES

Frank Velazquez Jr. delivered the night’s most serious charge. Velazquez, who is the program manager for a West Campus’ STEM grant, informed the board of his impending contract termination and his frustrations in applying for another position.

“Yesterday I found out the reason why I wasn’t moved forward for the last position I was in the running for,” he said. “The feedback given to me by HR was that the campus VP was concerned about my ‘going around regulations’ based on something I said in the interview.”

Because Velazquez’s current position is tied to a federal grant, “going around regulations” would mean Velazquez misappropriated federal funds. “He has questioned my integrity, and therefore I cannot stay silent,” Velazquez said.

“There is an inherent fallacy in his allegation,” he said. “In layman’s terms, no grant project director can ever ‘go around regulations’ when it comes to redirecting federal grant money.”

At the end of Velazquez’s statement, board members Sylvia Lee and Demion Clinco asked Chancellor Lee Lambert to look into Velazquez’s allegations.

Board member Luis Gonzales made a more forceful request.

“If anyone, any department needs to follow rules and protocol, it is HR,” Gonzales said. “I would ask today for the Chancellor, to undertake a complete and thorough investigation of the HR department to determine what is going on.”

Board Chairman Mark Hanna made note to move the issue onto a future board agenda.

 

C-FAIRR RETURNS

Coalition For Accountability, Integrity, Respect and Responsibility President Mario Gonzales kept the tone fiery.

“As chairman of C-FAIRR I urge the new board majority to recognize that Mr. Hanna and Mrs. Lee have failed in their duties and have not undertaken the task of seriously assessing the chancellor’s leadership,” Mario Gonzales said.

Gonzales statement laid out C-FAIRR’s reasoning for wanting to assess Lambert. Recent lawsuits, and the Higher Learning Commission were among the culprits.

The chancellor’s decision to send a letter and envoy on behalf of former Tucson Unified School District H.T. Sanchez representing the college was also cited.

The problem, Mario Gonzales said, was that Lambert issued the letter on official PCC letterhead and claimed to speak for the board.

“By supporting one political faction against another, he jeopardized PCC’s credibility in the community,” Mario Gonzales said. “What’s more, his actions demonstrate Mr. Lambert’s total ignorance and lack of awareness of the community.”

Board member Lee sternly addressed Mario Gonzales after his statement. “I really urge C-FAIRR, rather than bring back issues again and again that are not based on fact, in my opinion, to work with us and not sabotage the college,” Lee said.

“I challenge all of the board members to tell us what issues we have brought to the table that have not been documented publicly,” Gonzales said.

“Ok, we’re not in discussion Mr. Gonzales so you can please return to your seat” Hanna said, interrupting Gonzales.

 

SUMMER SCHEDULE FIGHT

The tense night continued with faculty representative David Morales’ report to the board. He focused heavily on the implementation of the upcoming Summer Session schedule.

“The past month was filled with the focus on the summer scheduling decision that has undermined our efforts to innovate and move forward,” Morales said.

For instructors, the main concern was “what is the ultimate goal of the summer scheduling decision?” Morales said.

When Morales ended his report, Lee immediately spoke. “Whenever you roll something out there’s got to be a communication plan,” she said. “It can’t be done unilaterally, which it sounds like it was.”

Board member Luis Gonzales was more blunt.

“What are we going do about this?” he said. “Do we say ‘administration, you made a little bit of an effort and it was ok, but since we already screwed it up, let’s move forward with it anyway?”

Referencing Higher Learning Commission recommendations, he addressed Lambert. “To be honest with you Mr. Chancellor, I’m not sure how the hell we passed the HLC test,” Gonzales said.

“Ok Mr. Gonzales,” Hanna said, quickly. “We need to be careful we are not in discussion.”

 

LAMBERT ANSWERS

After remaining mostly quiet throughout the night, a defiant Lambert spoke out during the Chancellor’s Report. The letter to TUSD was first on the agenda.

“I will own that, but I will say this,” he said. “My statement was not about what was going on at TUSD, it was simply to point out that we have a great relationship, and we want that relationship to continue.”

Summer session issues came next. Lambert said PCC had seen a decline of 22 percent in summer enrollment since 2012. He added a majority of students taking classes in the summer do so online.

“How do we justify to our taxpayers that we are running six facilities at full staffing levels in the face of this fiscal reality?” Lambert said. “That’s what’s driving the need to examine what we are doing on the summer.”

Lambert then went into a timeline detailing various meetings he held with important constituencies. He claimed it highlighted how open the summer scheduling process had been.

“I just want you to know,” Lambert said. “Extensive input was sought from employees over the course of a few months.”

Luis Gonzales was unimpressed by Lamberts litany of meetings and forums.

“Yeah, you can have all kinds of meetings, but if you don’t listen and don’t take it into account, what’s the result?” he said. “What we get is this argument here.”

He chastised Lambert further. “It certainly sounds like somebody isn’t listening.”

Lambert shot back. “I just gave you an example of how we listened,” he said. “Because of the feedback I received from the employee groups, we decided not to adjust contracts for the summer.”

Human Resources will also up be up for review, Lambert said. The college will go over contracts and hiring practices in place.

The issue Velazquez testified to earlier in the meeting seemed to take the chancellor by surprise. “I didn’t know that was what he was told by HR,” Lambert said. “But I also have to give the benefit of doubt to the other person.”

 

TUITION DECISION DELAYED

A presentation on the college’s new (and first) diversity plan had been scheduled to last 30 minutes, but ended up lasting three times that long. That last item on the board’s agenda for the evening was a vote on finalizing tuition rates.

College Executive Vice Chancellor David Bea laid out the financial benefits and drawbacks of three scenarios. Two scenario’s called for a $3 increase and another a $7 increase.

“What we know is, unless there is a significant enrollment turnaround, we are facing a pretty significant decrease in our expenditure limit capacity,” Bea said. The expenditure limit dictates how much of the college’s funds raised through taxes it can spend in a given year.

A severe decrease in expenditure limit spending would be catastrophic, Bea said.

Lee asked Bea if there could be salary increases without an increase in tuition rates.

“No, it would be very difficult to give salary increase of any significant type,” Bea said.

In response, Luis Gonzales asked if Bea had done any studies on how no increase or a 1% increase in tuition would affect the average instructor.

Hanna reminded Luis Gonzales that the topic at hand was tuition rates. “So it’s ok to go until midnight when the topic is tuition, but we can’t go a little longer on diversity?” Gonzales said, clearly perturbed.

Hanna, in an attempt to defuse some of the tension, said he agreed with Gonzales’ position that increasing tuition to balance the college’s ledger was wrong-headed.

“Write this down Mr. Gonzales,” said Hanna. “I absolutely agree with you that to vote on a tuition increase at this point, before we know what we are going to cut is something I don’t feel comfortable about.”
Bea attempted to explain that voting on tuition rates would not be out of the normal, even before the college had set a budget. However, citing the absence of Meredith Hay, Clinco made a motion to table the decision.

Gonzales asked if Clinco wanted more information on the topic. “No, I mean I think we are missing a board member, and I think it’s important that everybody be here for this decision.”

With that, Hanna adjourned the meeting.

 

THE WORD: How do you spend your extra money?

THE WORD: How do you spend your extra money?

Interviews and photos by Elise Stahl at Northwest Campus

 

“Usually on either crafts or on the kids I babysit.”

Caleb Kern

Major: Nursing

 

“Sometimes I spend it on clothes or something, but mostly I’ve been saving it to get gas and stuff like that.”

Ashley Dixon

Major: Business

 

“Smoothies and Starbucks.”

Amy Alonso

Major: Anatomy and physiology

 

“Probably fast food.”

Jacob Crow

Major: Business

 

“I usually just give it to my siblings, whenever they go out with friends.”

Alex Molteni

Major: Environmental biology

SPEAKERS' SERIES: Talk to focus on global strategies

SPEAKERS’ SERIES: Talk to focus on global strategies

PCC instructor Maureen Salzer will discuss curriculum April 4. (Photo courtesy of PCC)

By DALE VILLEBURN OLD COYOTE

Pima Community College will stage the final installment of its spring speakers’ series on April 4.

Instructor Maureen Salzer will discuss “Going Global Without Leaving Town: Strategies for Internationalizing the General Education Curriculum.”

The presentation will be in the community board room (building C) at the PCC district office, 4095 E. Broadway Blvd. The event is free to attend and will have light refreshments.

During her talk, Salzer will address techniques to successfully incorporate diversity awareness and global awareness into established courses throughout all college programs.

She’ll have literature resources available for faculty, including a bibliography.

Salzer developed the strategies while on a research sabbatical in Fall 2016.

She has been an instructor of writing, literature and humanities at West Campus since 2010. She earned a Master of Arts in English from Northeastern University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Arizona.
For additional details about the speakers’ series, call 206-4500.

AZTEC CALENDAR: March 23 - April 5

AZTEC CALENDAR: March 23 – April 5

CAMPUS EVENTS

April 5: Poetry literary slam, Northwest Campus Student Life Center, D-201, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Stop by the Student Center to show off your poetry skills and share them with other students.

Details: Student Life, 206-2121

April 5: Traciana Graves, “Don’t Call Me a Bitch,” 11:25 a.m.-noon, East Campus center courtyard. Interactive event for men and women will advocate for equality on campus and in the world. Details: Student Life, 206-7616

April 5: Traciana Graves, “Understanding What Yes means in Sex,” 2-3 p.m., East Campus student mall. Interactive program in recognition of sexual assault awareness month. Attendees can engage in activities and discussions that encourage awareness of the effect of words and actions. Details: Student Life, 206-7616

  

PIMA HOME SPORTS

March 23: Baseball vs. Toros de Tijuana, Kino Memorial Stadium, 11 a.m.

March 23: Men’s tennis vs. Paradise Valley CC, West Campus tennis courts, 1:30 p.m.

March 25: Softball vs. Mesa CC, West Campus, doubleheader – noon, 2 p.m.

March 28: Women’s tennis vs. Eastern Arizona, West Campus tennis courts, 1:30 p.m.

March 28: Baseball vs. Eastern Arizona, West Campus, doubleheader – noon, 2:30 p.m.

April 3-4: Women’s golf, Pima Community College Invitational, Randolph Golf Course, noon start each day

April 4: Baseball vs. Central Arizona, Kino Memorial Stadium, doubleheader – 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m.

  

TUCSON EVENTS

Through March 26: Tucson Cine Mexico festival showcasing contemporary Mexican movies at varied venues. Free, but reserve seats at thethinyellowline.brownpapertickets.com. Details: tucsoncinemexico.org

Through April 1: Tucson Invitational Games: college baseball, Kino Memorial Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way, game times and days vary. Single day tickets: adults $6, kids 12 and under free; weekly pass: $25. Details: tigsports.net

March 24-26: Fourth Avenue Spring Street Fair, 10 a.m.-dusk each day, free to public. Details: fourthavenue.org

March 25: Marana Founders’ Day Festival, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Ora Mae Horn Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road. Live entertainment, vintage tractor-car show, heritage village. Free. Parade along Marana Main Street begins at 10 a.m. Details: maranaaz.gov, calendar tab

March 25-26: Africa Night Dance Fusion live music and dance performances, 8 p.m.-2 a.m. each day. $20 in advance, $25 at door. Details: diasporashowcase.com

April 1: Cruise, BBQ & Blues Festival and Car Show, Oro Valley Marketplace, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $5. Details: saaca.org/classiccarshow

April 2: Cyclovia Tucson car-free neighborhood stroll, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., free. Details: cycloviatucson.org

 

LIVE MUSIC 

March 23: Kate Mo$$, 191 Toole, 191 E. Toole Ave., 7 p.m., $5. Details: rialtotheatre.com

March 25: Gabriel Ayala, Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., 7 p.m., $10-$15. Details: hotelcongress.com

March 25: Joey Fatts, D Savage: At Your Neck Tour, 191 Toole, 7 p.m., $15-$17. Details: rialtotheatre.com

March 25: Zeparella, Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., 7 p.m., $10-$17. Details: rialtotheatre.com

March 26: LIE, Club Congress, 21+, 8 p.m. Free. Details: hotelcongress.com

March 26: KFMA Day, Kino Memorial Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way, noon-10 p.m. $40. Details: kfma.com

April 1: Why?, 191 Toole, 7 p.m., $15-$18. Details: rialtotheatre.com

April 1: Miranda Sings with Special Guest Colleen Ballinger, Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., 8 p.m. $39.50. Details: foxtucson.com

 

TOP MOVIE RELEASES

Theater releases

March 24

“Life”

“Power Rangers”

“CHIPS”

March 31

“The Boss Baby”

“Ghost in the Shell”

“The Zookeeper’s Wife”

 

DVD releases

March 28

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

“Why Him?”

“Patriots Day”

“A Monster Calls”

“A Tale of Love and Darkness”

April 4

“Office Christmas Party”

“Rogue One”

Aztecs roll into national tournament

Aztecs roll into national tournament

By CASEY MUSE JR.

Pima men’s basketball wins Region I, Division II title and advance to NJCAA division II national tournament for the first time since 2009.
Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics

The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (22-11, 13-9 conference) found the postseason magic to advance to the NJCAA Division II tournament. This is the Aztecs’ first trip to the big dance in eight years.

The Aztecs won in the first round against a team from Illinois on March 21 and will face No. 1 seed Southwestern Community College of North Carolina on March 23 at 11 a.m.

During the March 8 Region I, Division II semifinal game against Glendale Community College, Ilunga Moise drives to the rim looking to help build on the Aztecs lead. PCC won the game and faced No. 1 seeded Phoenix College in the championship game on March 10.
Nicholas Trujillo / Aztec Press

March 8: PCC 119, Glendale 111

Pima outlasted Glendale Community College in a high-scoring affair at home in the Region I, Division II semifinals.

The No. 2 seeded Aztecs took an early 22-11 lead and never looked back.

The team made their first six threepointers to lead by 21 points. No. 3 seeded Glendale showed fight in the final minutes of the first half to cut the lead to 57-48 at the break.

An early run by Glendale in the second half cut the lead down to two points but PCC showed poise to put the game away.

Six Aztecs scored in double figures.

Sophomore Deion James scored a teamhigh 25 points and added 11 rebounds for his 18th double-double on the season.

Freshman Alize Travis scored 23 points on five-for-seven shooting from the field. He added 15 assists and six steals.

“It was very important to stay calm when the game got close,” Travis said. “Even when momentum is not on your side in the moment, you have to know how to respond and keep playing. Staying poised is a major key.”

Sophomore Damon Dubots contributed 19 points and 12 rebounds.

With the win, the Aztecs earned their first Region I, Division II championship game appearance in seven years.

Head coach Brian Peabody raises the net to celebrate winning the championship game.
Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics

March 10: PCC 102, Phoenix College 99

The No. 2 seeded Aztecs captured their first Region I, Division II championship since 2009 in a close game on the road against No. 1 seed Phoenix College.

The Aztecs were able to sustain a 51-49 lead at halftime.

Phoenix College began the second half on a 10-3 run to take a 59-54 lead. The Aztecs once again showed poise in the big moment, responding with back to back three-pointers to regain the lead.

The game went back and forth the rest of the way as the teams saw eight lead changes in the second half.

In the end, it came down to free throws. James hit a clutch pair to give Pima a 100- 96 lead with 9.8 seconds remaining. The defense held on to seal the victory.

Sophomore Emilio Acedo lead the way as he scored a team-high 27 points shooting six-for-nine from three-point range.

James scored 27 points and added 12 rebounds to earn the Most Valuable Player award for the game, after earning his 19th double-double of the season.

The victory was head coach Brian Peabody’s first region championship since taking over at Pima.

March 21: PCC 93, Waubonsee CC 84

Aztecs surround sophomore Deion James as he holds his trophy as the Region I, Division II championship game’s Most Valuable Player. He scored 27 points and had 12 rebounds.
Photo courtesy of PCC Athletics

The Aztecs took control early in their first-round NJCAA Division II Men’s basketball tournament game against Waubonsee Community College of Illinois.

Pima began on a 12-2 run to take a double- digit lead just minutes in.

The Aztecs maintained the lead on their way to a 40-30 halftime lead.

PCC busted the game open at the start of the second half as Acedo drilled two key three-pointers to help the Aztecs go on a 14-4 run and secure their largest lead of the game.

Waubonsee showed fight but could not battle all the way back.

Acedo finished the game with 14 points after making four three pointers.

James found his stride in the second half and led all scorers with 31 points, shooting 13-for-13 from the free throw line.

Dubots amassed nine points and 11 rebounds.

No. 1 seed Southwestern Community College beat Southern Maryland to face the Aztecs in the quarterfinal game.

Southwestern CC are just short of being undefeated for their season, losing only to Kirkwood CC of Cedar Rapids.

 

Aztecs to face Glendale in playoff game.

Aztecs to face Glendale in playoff game.

 By CASEY MUSE JR.

The Pima Community College men’s basketball team will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Region I, Division II tournament.

PCC will host No. 3 seed Glendale Com munity College on March 8. During their final five games of the sea son, Pima won two games and lost three.

Feb. 15: PCC 110, Cochise 102

The Aztecs earned one of their best wins of the season at home against Cochise College. The game was back and forth to start until Pima took charge halfway through the first half. A 7-0 run gave the Aztecs their first double-digit lead of the game at 32-21  with just over eight minutes left in the half.

PCC strengthened its lead to as much as 14 before settling for a 50-39 halftime lead.  Cochise did all it could to close the gap in the second half and came as close as a seven-point deficit but it was never enough.

Sophomore Emilio Acedo had another good game as he tied for the team high in scoring with 26 points. He shot 4-for-7 from the 3-point line. Freshman Isiah Murphy had one of his best games of the year as he also scored 26 points. He shot 10-for-12 from the free throw line in the process.

Sophomore Damon Dubots contributed 19 points and seven rebounds. Fellow sophomore Deion James secured his 15th double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds. The result meant a split in the season head to head with Cochise.

The Aztecs fell 96-83 to the Apaches in Douglas in January. The win also meant Pima had won seven of its last eight games.

Feb. 18: PCC 67, Phoenix College 72

The Aztecs fell in a close game on the road against Phoenix College. The No. 20 Aztecs and No. 11 Bears went back and forth for the entire game. The first half produced nine lead changes and seven ties as the teams went in to halftime tied at 32.

The Aztecs came out strong in the second half, using an 8-0 run with about 12 minutes left in the game to take a 52-46 advantage.

Pima couldn’t maintain, however, and Phoenix College reclaimed the lead with just over five minutes left.

The Aztecs managed to tie the game two more times but could never take back the lead.

Acedo led the way with 20 points. He shot 3-for-6 from the 3-point line. James earned his 16th double-double on the year with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Dubots added 11 points.

Feb. 22: PCC 84, Central Arizona 79

Pima earned a close victory at home against Central Arizona College. The first half was closely contested and the teams entered halftime tied at 33-33. The Aztecs played a strong second half

but Central Arizona was able to keep things close.

Up two points with 27 seconds left, Acedo iced the game on a clutch 3-point shot. James scored a team-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds. Acedo finished the game with 13 points

and seven rebounds.

Pima also earned 34 bench points. The win earned head coach Brian Peabody the most wins he has ever had in a season at Pima, with 19. The win also offered revenge for a 103-97 loss the Aztecs took from Central Arizona in January.

Feb. 25: PCC 93, Mesa 94

The Aztecs played such a close game on the road against Mesa that regulation just was not enough.

Pima had a hot start to the game and broke out to an early 23-16 lead. The lead grew to as many as nine points but Mesa came back to regain the lead by halftime. Pima entered the second half down 41-40.

Mesa was in control for most of the second half until a late Aztec run forced overtime. Mesa owned the overtime period and scored the game’s final five points to win it. James earned his 17th double-double of the season with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Three other players scored 17 points

each.

Mesa earned its revenge as Pima defeated the Thunderbirds 115-78 at home in January.

Feb. 28: PCC 71, Arizona Western 98

It was a rough night for the Aztecs in their final home game of the season. Pima fell behind early to Division I opponent Arizona Western and could never chip their way back into it. James scored a team-high 15 points, while Acedo contributed 14 points.

All of the sophomores were honored during halftime.

 

DACA: New administration brings uncertainty

DACA: New administration brings uncertainty

By MELINA CASILLAS and NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

Ana, a student at Pima Community College and the University of Arizona, came to the United States when she was 2.

She came with her parents and brother, because her parents thought it was the best thing to do for their children.

“It’s not like Mexico had a bad life for us, it’s just there was more opportunity,” Ana said. “Not only economic rights, but education rights for my brother and I.”

Ana, who asked that her last name not be used, works with the UA Immigration Student Resource Center to create a safe environment for those in the same situation.

“I think that it’s crazy, and as dumb as it is, it also strikes fear,” she said. “Not only in yourself but in the family and your community, and it’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

Aztec Press illustration by Katelyn Roberts

DACA’S BACKGROUND

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly referred to as DACA, is an executive order signed by President Obama in June 2012.

The policy allows undocumented immigrants who migrated to the United States before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to be eligible for work permits and protection from deportation for two years, with a renewable application.

Students who take advantage of the policy are referred to as Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAMers.

Those who are eligible pay a $495 fee, an increase from $465 as of December 2016. DACA students must also provide fingerprints and other biometrics for an $85 fee and prove they have not had any criminal convictions.

As of September 2016, over 800,000 DACA applicants have been accepted nationally. Nearly 4,000 of those reside in Pima County, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

ARIZONA’S RESPONSE

The DREAMers were fearful before Obama’s executive order in 2012. The order allowed them to step out of the shadows to continue their education and build a better life in the ‘land of opportunity.’

However, former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer began erecting barriers for DACA students as soon as the policy took affect.

Brewer issued a state executive order to deny the DREAMers driver’s licenses they were eligible for in 2012.

In December 2014, U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell overturned Brewer’s order, allowing DREAMers to receive their licenses.

Before that, Proposition 300 was passed in 2006. It made undocumented immigrants ineligible for in-state tuition. Children who had grown up in Arizona most of their lives were now required to pay out-of- state tuition.

Maricopa County Community College District challenged this; allowing in-state tuition to DREAMers. Former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne took the district to superior court. The court ruled in the college’s favor.

As of Jan. 10, current Attorney General Mark Brnovich has begun the appeal process to block DREAMers from receiving in-state tuition once again.

DACA students at PCC currently receive in-state tuition according to PCC’s website.

After a ruling by Federal Judge Arthur Anderson in 2015, all three state universities have been required to offer in-state tuition for these students.

While DACA students pay in-state tuition they are not eligible for any federal aid, including FAFSA.

Know Your Rights flier provided by UA ISRC

UNCERTAIN POLITICAL CLIMATE

Now that Donald Trump is president,uncertainty fills the air for the DREAMers and all undocumented immigrants alike.

In a press conference, Trump said “DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, because you have these incredible kids, in many cases not in all cases.” He also said he will deal with DACA “with heart.”

However, on Feb. 10, DREAMer Daniel Ramirez Medina was arrested in Seattle.

According to the Los Angeles Times, immigration officials say that Ramirez was a “self-admitted gang member” and arrested him for safety reasons.

Ramirez’s attorney disputed that saying he’d never been convicted of a crime and that he was pressed by immigration officers to falsely admit to the accusations.

Protests around Washington State have already begun in solidarity with Ramirez.

Locally, organizations like the University of Arizona’s International Student

Resource Center, are working to protect the rights of DACA students by supplying training to staff.

ISRC also speaks to the Arizona Board of Regents about making the college a sanctuary zone.

ISRC is also working with a Barrett Honors College student to create an app to alert students of where Border Patrol or other officers are seen around the Tucson area.

Advocacy groups like Scholarships A-Z are also helping DACA students, providing them with assistance in finding private scholarships for school and other immigration resources.

Many volunteers for Scholarships A-Z are also DACA students.

COLLEGE OFFERS HOPE

Conozca sus derechos folleto proporcionado por UA ISRC

Although the situation is grim, there are helping hands at many institutions, though some are safer than others. That is evident in letters sent out after the proposal to end the DACA program by the Trump administration.

Chancellor Lee Lambert put out a statement Jan. 30, saying, “The College is reviewing action we could take to ensure students and employees feel secure, respected and supported.”

Pima does stand behind their employees; the email also lists links to help, and others to make an informed decision.

Ann Weaver Hart, president of UA, put out a statement, Nov. 24, 2016. With only 70 DACA students, they represent less than one percent of the student population.

“The UA statement publicly stakes out our position on protecting DACA student information,” she said.

“Providing advice and counsel for those students and ensuring any educational aspiration underway at the UA can be successfully completed regardless of events.”

Although the university had good intentions, many DACA students did not think the letter was clear enough on how it would protect them.

“President Hart, who’s president here at the UA, said she would protect DACA students in all her abilities,” Ana said.

“However coming together with other DACA students we thought it was vague, it didn’t really say anything or like actions to protect.”

A student at the UA felt so unsafe that he transferred to Pima.

“One DACA student left UA to transfer to Pima, because there are more opportunities there and it’s a safer environment,” Ana said.

Track: More PCC qualifiers for indoor nationals

Track: More PCC qualifiers for indoor nationals

 By KATELYN ROBERTS

With the Aztecs’ last meet before nationals under their belts, every national qualifier earned is being counted.

On Feb. 17, Pima Community College’s track and field teams competed in the NAU Tune-Up Meet in Flagstaff.

Freshman Colin Dylla qualified nationally for the 800-meter race with a time of 1 minute and 58.17 seconds, taking fifth place  Freshman Filimone Tu-avao qualified in the weight throw with a throw of 51 feet and 7 inches.

He earned ninth place. Freshman Jymil Toney improved his national qualifier in the high jump with a new mark of 6 feet, 8.75 inches.

Sophomore Sam Shoultz took second place in high jump, matching his season-best mark with a mark of 6 feet, 10.75 inches.

In the long jump, freshman Cam Duffy earned second place at 22 feet and 0.75 inches, and  Treyshon Malone earned third with a jump at 22 feet and 10 inches.

Next up, PCC track and field will head to Pittsburg, Kansas, to compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Indoor National Championships.

Eddie Celaya./ Aztec Press Hannah Bartz takes flight during her first attempt in the long jump at the Aztec Indoor Invitational,

GOLF: Men’s team seeks improvement, women’s team stays consistent

GOLF: Men’s team seeks improvement, women’s team stays consistent

By DAVID W. SKINNER

Both teams are keeping pace after the Pima Community College men’s golf team placed sixth in the Mesa Community College invitational on Feb. 6 and the women’s team placed second.

The women’s team took second place for the second time in a row while the men’s team improved to place fourth at Scottsdale.

MEN’S TEAM

The men’s team placed fourth at the Scottsdale Invitational at Hillcrest Golf Course, which took place on Feb. 20-21.

The Aztecs finished just two strokes behind third place Mesa Community College, with sophomore Colton Gage coming alive on the final day of the competition and earning a top-five finish.

Freshman Cooper Cordova continued an impressive start to his Aztec career by shooting one under par on the opening day. He finished the tournament with a top-20 finish overall.

Sophomores Noah St. Clair and Josh Daniels both tied for 30th to round out the weekend.

The men’s team will be teeing off next at the Estrella Mountain Invitational in Litchfield Park on March 7-8.

The team will be looking to secure its first top-three team finish of the season.

WOMEN’S TEAM

At the Estrella Mountain Invitational, the Aztecs were unable to score as they played with three of their four players.

Sophomore Desiree Hong was absent during the invitational, but it didn’t stop the Aztecs from finishing in the top half of the bracket.

Sophomore Samantha Hacker tied for fourth with a two-day score of 173 (90-83). Freshman Abby Miller finished in tenth place with a two-day total of 191 (94-97). Freshman Juliana Perez shot a two-day score of 204 (108- 96), tying for 13 place.

Samantha Hacker takes a look at the field before she swings. (Photo Courtesy of PCC Athletics)

SOFTBALL: Pima trying to find batting consistency

SOFTBALL: Pima trying to find batting consistency

By CASEY MUSE JR.

The Pima Community College softball team has entered the full swing of the regular season. Players are looking to establish some consistency with their bats as they look to reach their full potential.

Feb. 16: PCC 10, Colorado Northwestern 13 / PCC 6, Colorado Northwestern 3

The Aztecs split a non-conference home match-up with Colorado Northwestern. Both offenses were on fire in the first game.

Freshman Megan Flores finished with one run scored, sophomore Bailey Critchlow finished the game three for five, with two RBIs and three runs scored.

Freshman Mandy Lorenson took the loss in the game after pitching two relief innings. She finished with three hits, three strikeouts and seven walks.

The Aztecs learned their lesson and did not let the lead slip in the second game.

In the first inning, sophomore Amy Pacheco drove in fellow sophomore Margarita Corona and Flores. Pima added two more in the fourth inning to make the score 5-0.

Critchlow earned the win as she shutout the Spartans for the entire game, finishing with three earned runs, six hits, four strikeouts and four walks.

Feb. 18: PCC 6, Central Arizona CC 5

Pima was able to win one conference game before the rain in a home meeting.

Things started out slow for the Aztecs as they fell to an early 5-0 deficit. However, PCC rallied and scored six unanswered runs, to give Central Arizona their first ACCAC conference loss.

Critchlow hit the game winning RBI single to score freshman Edith Prieto. Pima didn’t have any runs on the board until the fifth inning.

Critchlow took the win, pitching the entire game. She finished with five runs earned, 10 hits, one strikeout, and five walks.

The second game of the doubleheader was postponed for March 9, due to the weather.

Feb. 21: PCC 10, Eastern 9 / PCC 6, Eastern 8

Pima split a conference meeting with Eastern Arizona at home.

Pima took the lead early on back-to-back RBIs from Sophomores Courtney Brown and Critchlow. Eastern Arizona began their comeback in fifth inning and by the seventh, the Gila Monsters had a one run lead of their own.

Critchlow clutched a walkoff two run RBI single to win the game. Critchlow also earned the win as she pitched the entire game finishing with 10 hits, one strikeout and two walks.

Eastern Arizona was surely out for revenge in the second game. The game remained close throughout as the Gila Monsters were able to score the tying run in the seventh to send the game to extra innings. Pima just could not find any offense in the eighth and Eastern Arizona was able to score two runs to steal the win.

Sophomore Luisa Silvain took the loss as she pitched the entire game and finished with 12 hits, three strikeouts and three walks.

Feb. 25: PCC 8, Scottsdale 0 / PCC 11, Scottsdale 0

The Aztecs dominated the conference double header with Scottsdale Community College.

The first game was busted open by the Aztecs in the third inning, scoring seven runs. They did not look back from there and carried the momentum over into the second game.

The team was able to score nine runs in the fourth inning of game two and never let the Artichokes score any runs of their own. Both games ended in a shutout.

Sophomore Luisa Silvain earned the win in the first game finishing with five hits and three strikeouts. Freshman Megan Lorenson got the win in the second game, finishing with two hits, seven strikeouts and two walks.

Nicholas Trujillo./Aztec Press Margarita Corona goes for swings against GateWay Community College, on Valentines Day.

 

Desert Vista library re-opens

Desert Vista library re-opens

 

Nicholas Trujillo/Aztec Press Students work on assignments at the renovated library’s new Centers for Individualized Learning compartments.

By RENE ESCOBAR 

Pima Community College’s Desert Vista library has reopened after being closed 14 months for renovation. The college used federal Title V grant funds to pay for the $1 million project.

The renovated library exhibits a modern look with glass walls and open floor space. It features all-new furnishings, computers and outlet stations.

The library also gained areas called Centers for Individualized Learning, which are single seats where a student can work on assignments.

“I love the spacing for students,” retiring librarian Tony Arroyo said. “We are the smallest library of all five campuses, but since the remodel we do not have that many volumes of books.”

The renovation shrunk the amount of space used to display books, because of internet access reducing the need for print publications.

“We had to withdraw a lot of books,” Arroyo said. “Ninety-nine percent of our journals are now online rather than in hard copy.”

The redesign made space for conference rooms and student work areas. The conference rooms are compact but hold a table, seats and white boards.

Assistant librarian Anne Thames-Real said the renovation emphasized technology.

“It’s integrating to tech,” she said.

Students like the more technological and modern vibe.

“It’s a cool environment,” Ivan Medina said.

Fellow student John Rowe said, “I like it, it’s welcoming.”

Faculty members also praised the renovations.

“Beautiful, spacious area,” instructor Elizabeth Gooden said.

HOWS THAT MINIMUM WAGE LAW WORKING?: Spike may actually limit number of jobs

HOWS THAT MINIMUM WAGE LAW WORKING?: Spike may actually limit number of jobs

By DAVID W. SKINNER

The minimum wage rate in Arizona has risen from $8.50 to $10 since Jan. 1 and will continue to rise 50 cents each year until the minimum wage reaches $12 by the year 2020.

This isn’t going to work. Raising the minimum wage will put people out of work.

Before voters approved the Proposition 206 wage increase, businesses kept many people on staff at $8.50 an hour. Employees worked shifts throughout the week, whether they were a student, a working mother or a father with a second job trying to pay the bills.

With the pay raise, companies that already could barely afford their overhead are looking at layoffs or reduced hours.

I wish state voters had been more diligent before approving this plan.

We all know businesses are going to do what’s best for their bottom line. As an employee, I hear all the time how my company cares about its employees and all that nonsense.

But now is when we get to see a business’ true intentions.

Surprisingly enough, it’s to make money.

If making money takes firing people in order for those corporate suits to cash their quarterly bonus, they won’t even think twice.

To the everyday working man or woman who depends on part-time jobs to pay the

bills, having to replace those lost hours with another part-time job is going to be much harder due to a company’s requirement to hire an entry-level employee at $10 compared to $8.50.

The company will hire fewer people for those part-time jobs and some workers will be left out in the cold.

As a state, Arizona needs more companies to want to move here. Occupants of this beautiful state must be able to work and live in comfort.

The minimum wage increase adds another roadblock for companies planning to move their business operation to the Tucson area.

Bringing new jobs to the Tucson community shows other companies that Arizona is a great home base. I just don’t think raising the minimum wage was a step in that direction.

Making sudden, drastic changes without any real adjustment period or plan has left employers all over Arizona having to make hard decisions.

Arizona should want its working people to make money, not lose their jobs entirely.

 

David Skinner is a journalist major whose opinions are just as bad as his writing style. He loves long walks on the beach but hates getting sand in his shoes. Do not follow him on twitter @daveyskins_.

Potential tuition hike on governing board agenda

Potential tuition hike on governing board agenda

By EDDIE CELAYA

The Pima Community College Board of Governors will consider raising in-state tuition and cutting employee benefits at its next meeting.

The March 8 meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the Community Board Room (Building C) at the District Office complex, 4095 E. Broadway Blvd.

TUITION DISCUSSION

The governing board might decide to increase tuition by $7 per credit hour, the college’s largest increase ever.

College officials have said budget shortfalls may force a tuition increase. They’ve listed factors such as state funding cutbacks and dwindling enrollment.

David Bea, PCC vice chancellor for finance, presented three budget scenarios to the Board of Governors last December. One scenario included a $7 per-credit-hour increase in tuition. The two other scenarios both proposed a $3 increase.

College spokeswoman Libby Howell said the proposals are just that: proposals. “It could be a $7 increase, yes,” she said. “It could just as easily stay the same or fall somewhere in between.”

In a typical year, the governing board schedules a study session devoted solely to tuition a month before its public vote, Howell said.

That didn’t happen this year.

“There was no study session on just tuition,” she said. “There was a budget session, and it was during that time they discussed and included tuition rates for the March meeting.”

Board chairman Mark Hanna said he is “concerned we’re voting on a tuition increase before we actually have taken a look at what we’re going to do to reduce costs.”

Hanna has voted against tuition increases the last two years.

“It’s the most important issue I have to deal with each year, because I know how it affects our students,” he said.

The governing board voted last March to decrease international tuition from $5,280 to $4,500 for a full schedule of classes, a drop of nearly 15 percent.

Hanna said the board’s 2016 vote doesn’t cheat in-state students by giving big breaks to international students. He argued it simply levels the playing field for all non-residential students.

“We are treating everybody who is not a resident of Arizona or Pima County the same,” he said.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

The governing board will also be asked to approve contracts for employee benefits.

The board typically takes into account information from both employee groups and the administration when deciding the best course for benefit packages, according to Howell.

“Much like with tuition, the board can either vote to increase or decrease the cost and type of benefits packages,” she said. “It’s all related to the budget.”
Hanna, citing a presentation given by Bea, said the cost of employee benefits is high.

“Obviously, health insurance is the highest percentage of that,” he said.

The cost must ultimately be shared, Hanna said.

“Then we would make a decision based on how to adjust the cost to the “how much the college shares versus how much employees share,” he said.

FROM THE EDITOR: College encourages arts' excellence

FROM THE EDITOR: College encourages arts’ excellence

By ROBYN ZELICKSON

Music. Art. Theater. Dance.

Before I worked on the Aztec Press, I was oblivious to these programs at Pima Community College.

Because I’ve been interested in the arts from a young age, however, I was naturally drawn to writing about arts and entertainment.

When I take a trip down memory lane, I can look from last September to the present and recall highlights of meeting some of Pima’s many talented and interesting people.

One of my favorite people in the Theatre Arts department, Mickey Nugent, was a delight to interview both for “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “In the Heights.” With an extensive background in theater going back to his Broadway days, he is warm and funny.

Todd Poelstra, the program coordinator for PCC Theatre Arts, is a man of many hats. Poelstra directs, handles lighting and set-building and additionally was a key part of the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Botanical Gardens. He is a quiet man with immense skill.

Nolan Kubota, dance faculty, was a pleasure to encounter. He has danced in theaters around the world and entertained many while a part of renowned dance companies. Look for more on Kubota in a profile by colleague Nicholas Trujillo in an upcoming issue.

David Andres was also a joy to get to know and a pleasure to bond with over our mutual love and concern for the future of our oceans. His art is brilliant and very moving. I have my fingers crossed for him to win the Governor’s Arts Award this semester.

I look forward to getting to know some of the gifted faculty in the music department, including Jonathan Ng, Mark Nelson, Mike Kuhn, Alexander Tentser, Alex Cardieri, Michael Lich and Jeff Sanders – an extensive list.

Carol Carder, the marketing and public relations director for the Center of the Arts at the West Campus, has been a helpful guide along the way. Her dedication to publicizing events is phenomenal and she’s been my partner-in-crime on many a story.

No column would be complete without mentioning my beloved Aztec Press co-workers, who have helped me to learn about excellence in writing and photography. You’ve all inspired me to improve and taught me about our craft and about life.

Last but certainly not least, there’s our adviser and fearless leader Cynthia Lancaster, who is leaving us at the end of this semester. It’s tough to put into simple words what her influence has meant to me. Travel safe and enjoy your retirement, Cynthia.

The newsroom has been a blessing to me in times when I needed a second home. It’s a serious yet joyful place, full of humor and, let’s not forget, dope music.

TOP 10: Ways to stay safe over Spring Break

TOP 10: Ways to stay safe over Spring Break

By DAKOTA FINCHER

Spring Break is right around the corner and I cannot wait to be sitting on the beach sippin’ something strong. But with great power comes great responsibility, and we still have another half of the semester to finish.

  1. Watch your drinks.

My mother taught me to never accept a drink from anyone and to always keep my eyes on my drink. This is my motherly advice to you. If it seems tampered with, toss it.

  1. Take an Uber/Lyft.

Drinking and driving is lame, and ridesharing is lit. Keep an eye on social media for promo codes. Not only will you get there safely, you pay less. Win, win.

  1. Know your limits.

Chugging that big bottle of bad decisions may seem like a beautiful idea, but you don’t want the consequences. Get to the fun “you” that can enjoy and remember. Even better, the “you” that did not get alcohol poisoning.

  1. Send a goodnight text.

Wherever you go, text someone afterward. It can be anything from “Goodnight, I’m home” to “jgonls I;mjuh hijeknf.” It makes a difference to the people you care about.

  1. Start with a game plan.

What are your plans for the night? I mean the entire plan. Know where you’re going and who is going, to eliminate surprises that could ruin your fun. (I know, I know, I’m a mom.)

  1. Use a buddy system.

I probably don’t even have to tell you this, but never do anything alone. You’re always better off in numbers. So, yes, powder your nose, but together.

  1. Trust your gut.

You already know what this means. If something doesn’t feel right, you’re probably correct. Leave or call it a night.

  1. Protect yourself.

Whether it means applying sunscreen, wearing a hat or protecting your future, never do anything without covering yourself.

  1. Water is your best friend.

Get this tattooed. Water is good for your skin, hair, nails and insides, especially if you’re going to be in the sun. Drink as much water as possible before you start drinking anything else. Besides, water is delicious.

  1. Remember who you are.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. You are a smart individual and you’ll make good decisions. This is your mom, signing off.