The Arizona Board of Regents heard from students who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and also extended the contract of UA men’s basketball coach Sean Miller, during its meeting on Thursday, Feb. 2.
DACA students voice their opinions to the regents
UA student recipients and supporters of the DACA policy voiced their concerns at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting, with students from the UA, ASU and NAU being allotted four minutes each to express their opinions to the regents.
“Associated Students of the University of Arizona recently passed a resolution to the student body senate supporting all DACA students,” announced Trey Cox, ASUA executive vice president. “We want to reassure, that in a time where nothing is certain, that we fully support all of our international students in the UA community.”
UA DACA student Mira Patel urged the regents to establish its three institutions as sanctuary campuses for DACA, undocumented and refugee students.
“I ask that you now implement policies that provide further aid and services,” she said.
Ana Laura Mendoza, another UA DACA student, agreed. She further explained the obstacles that DACA students face on the UA campus.
“I have seen border patrol and ICE agents on the UA campus several times,” she recounted to the regents. “I am full of fear just walking from one class to another, which is why we need sanctuary campuses.”
Mendoza then listed the demands of UA DACA students to the regents.
“We demand that there will be no Border Patrol on campus, that campus security will not collaborate with federal immigration authorities for the purpose of enforcement and no deportations at all on campuses,” she said.
Irasema Fonseca, a UA student from an immigrant family, spoke to the regents about the rights of student immigrants, refugees and their families.
“They are contributing members of society and they have a right to an education,” she said. “This right is being threatened by the current bans established by executive orders and actions from the U.S. president and recently from our state legislator, particularly from Muslim countries ... It is time to take action.”
Fonseca requested that the regents meet with UA students to discuss their needs.
Regents President Eileen Klein offered to sit down with some of these students to hear their concerns.
“I will say that it was the first I had heard of those kind of occurrences on campus,” she said. “I was glad students came forward and shared their experiences in a public forum, and I hope to hear first-hand some of those details to understand their concerns.”
Sean Miller’s pay increased, contract extended through 2022
The Arizona Board of Regents unanimously approved to extend UA mens basketball head coach Sean Miller’s contract through 2022 and increase his pay to roughly $2.9 million per year.
A donor has provided the university 175,000 units, which is equivalent to $4.2 million. The proposal of the extension to Miller’s contract asked for an additional 50,000 units, or about $1.2 million.
Regent Rick Myers added clarification that the donor’s gracious contribution is under the control of the UA Foundation and not the donor.
“The money is there for the specific use to encourage the retention of our key leaders in our sports program,” Myers said. “I think this board has been a good fiduciary and working with the university to ensure that the university maintains control of those funds with the UA Foundation.”
Greg Patterson, regents chair, discussed how it is important to see where sports fit and connect to the overall structure of a university.
“Revenues from basketball is pretty astonishing at $22.3 million, expenses from basketball at 11.8 for a net profit on men’s basketball of $10.5 million,” Patterson said. “It is generally football that subsidizes everything else, but in this case the subsidy from men’s basketball at $10.5 million is just really remarkable.”
Patterson made the point that, if a university is going to pay an employee who can lead an organization in incremental differences, then paying that person a lot extra will be a financially good move. And Miller is seen as that asset for the UA.
“I just wanted to say that we are very proud of coach Miller being our head coach at the UA,” Erika Barnes, the interim athletic director said to the regents. “He has taken us to three Elite Eights in his seven seasons. We are currently No. 5 in the country, and we’ve also led attendance the last seven seasons in the Pac-12 Conference.”
Barnes said the regents have been supportive of all things for the UA. She added the regetns see the athletic department as a critical part for not only the campus but the community and national recognition.
“I think it [Miller’s contract] shows the board of regents and the UA are both committed to Sean Miller,” Barnes said. “We wanted to make sure we can extend his contract out five years, which is the maximum for board of regents.”
The only suggestion made during this discussion was for Miller to make it to the Final Four this season.
Discussion was closed with Patterson saying “Bear Down.”