About 100 students and faculty rallied in front of the Administration building yesterday to voice their frustration with state budget cuts and the UA transformation process.
Organizers said the event was a success in drawing attention to the lack of input students and faculty feel they have in university policy and funding decisions.
The rally was organized by a group known as Arizona for Education, founded by graduate students in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, which communicates via the blog arizonaforeducation.com.
The group, which met for the first time last week is comprised of graduate and undergraduate students interested in ""conscience raising"" about the current state of the UA, said geography masters student Kerri Jean Ormerod.
""It's not a protest,"" Ormerod said of the rally. ""It's a defensive response.""
Support and publicity for the rally grew throughout the week through a series of emails and word of mouth.
Although the crowd was mostly of students, some faculty members were in attendance as well, including Marv Waterstone, a geography and regional development professor, who addressed the audience through a megaphone.
""This is a wholly political process,"" Waterstone said of the transformation. ""It is subject to political change.""
Organizers said the event was held in solidarity with a planned walkout of faculty in the University of California system.
Last week, the Graduate and Professional Student Council discussed the possibility of a walkout, but members decided instead to unofficially support the Arizona for Education rally.
One issue that UA rally attendees seemed divided over was whether the state legislature or the UA administration were to blame for what rally-goers described as the commercialization of higher education.
Political activism on campus is important because it gets the attention of state legislators via the UA administration, said Christopher Scott, an assistant geography professor.
He added that he was concerned about the ""long-term trajectory"" of the UA and that this concern was widespread amongst faculty members.
Arizona for Education will continue to have meetings in coming weeks, said gender studies doctoral student Angela Stoutenburgh, and might organize other events.
Anyone interested in the group should visit its Web site.
""I do think more people are aware and now they have an outlet,"" Stoutenburgh said.