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UA, ASU students hold protest, speak at ABOR meeting on financial crisis

The ABOR meeting discussed UA's financial crisis, Turning Point USA and university responses to the Israel-Gaza conflict


Protesters kneel during the pledge of allegiance at an Arizona Board of Regents meeting at the Student Union North Ballroom on the University of Arizona Tucson campus on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. 

University of Arizona and ASU students spoke out in a rally outside an Arizona Board of Regents meeting in Tucson that discussed the ongoing UA financial crisis, petitions to remove Turning Point USA from three Arizona college campuses and UA and ASU’s stances on the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict. 

Over 10 student and local organizations gathered outside UA's Old Main while officials like President Robert Robbins and ABOR discussed the ongoing topics. At the rally outside, Kierra Otis, an ASU graduate student studying gender studies, asked for UA and ASU to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to boycott companies and organizations that support Israel.

"As students and workers of Arizona's public universities, we do not want to support genocide of Palestinians or any other people," Otis said. "I strongly implore ABOR to join the BDS movement for a free Palestine movement."

ASU President Michael Crow listens to public comments at an Arizona Board of Regents meeting at the Student Union North Ballroom on the University of Arizona Tucson campus on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. 

READ MORE: Student organizations call on ASU to boycott and divest from companies supporting Israel

UA students spoke at the rally on their experiences of the university dealing with its financial crisis. Jeremy Bernick, a second-year graduate student and president of UA's Graduate and Professional Student Council, said they saw a "lack of transparency" and "lack of accountability" from ABOR and Robbins' management in response to the $140 million shortage of cash on hand. 

"As a law student I questioned how that's (shortage) left without accountability from the Board of Regents," Burnick said. "I'm somebody who's studying corporate law right now and if an officer of an organization makes a mistake like that there's liability involved. There should be consequences because if a worker was to do that, they'd be instantly fired for their lack of accountability or negligence."

The students rallied outside UA's Old Main for one hour before making their way into the ongoing ABOR meeting for public comment. Many UA students expressed their anger with the university’s proposed solutions for the low amounts of cash on hand.

Alyssa Sanchez, UA student and ASUA president, spoke out against the school's attempts to restructure how students receive financial aid in order to make up for funds. She continued to demand action and said that "swift action and accountability should have been made." 

"The proposed cuts disproportionately impact those who are not responsible for this mismanagement," Sanchez said. "I am tired of using stats and statistics to explain that I am one of many students at the University of Arizona who are facing critical circumstances and the decisions made in response to this crisis will shape the future of not only the institution but those that come here."

READ MORE: Students, faculty and officials voice concerns on University of Arizona's financial problems

ASU students who made the trip to Tucson said they sympathized with UA students and said that the financial crisis could impact anyone. 

"As an ASU student, a lot of us are of course deeply concerned and deeply sympathize with everyone at UA who has been impacted by the financial crisis," said Michael Kintscher, an ASU graduate student studying computer science. "We have some of the same concerns and to see the reaction, or lack thereof, from the university is deeply disturbing to us because we know it just happens to be UA today, but that could be us (ASU) tomorrow."

Edited by Alysa Horton, Jasmine Kabiri, Angelina Steel and Grace Copperthite.

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