University of Arizona students, teachers angry over $240M budget shortfall

Nov 17, 2023, 7:29 AM | Updated: 7:30 am

File photo of a sign at the University of Arizona entrance in Tucson. Students and faculty members ...

The Arizona Board of Regents is holding a town hall for members of the public to provide comments on the next president of the University of Arizona. (X File Photo/@AZRegents)

(X File Photo/@AZRegents)

PHOENIX (AP) — Students and faculty members harshly criticized University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins on Thursday over a $240 million budget shortfall that has sparked suggestions for cuts to student scholarships and instructor salaries.

The angry complaints about the financial miscalculation consumed most of the first hour of a gathering of the board of regents in Tucson, Arizona. News of the shortfall was announced two weeks ago and quickly led to calls for an external audit and accountability by university leadership.

“I do not trust the university with my well-being anymore,” Megan Wong, a student senator in the pharmacy college, told the crowded meeting. “The university has made it loud and clear that they do not care about us.”

Phyllis Brodsky, of the university’s office of instruction and assessment, told Robbins that news of the shortfall has created uncertainty as she prepares to retire next year.

“I did my job for 40 years,” she told the university’s president. “Now do yours!”

Robbins did not directly address the criticism during the meeting but acknowledged that the university faces financial difficulties. Robbins has until Dec. 15 to give the board of regents a plan for dealing with the shortfall.

Robbins has said that the university’s athletic department drained university resources ahead of its move from the Pac-12 to the Big 12.

He acknowledged during a Nov. 2 meeting with the board of regents that athletics was not producing the revenue expected after the pandemic and has indicated that cutting sports from the school is an option. Arizona has 20 athletic teams and a budget that exceeds $100 million.

The meeting Thursday also featured a presentation by Robbins on key investments the university has made over the past year in research and other areas, using money drawn from the school’s reserves.

Jon Laguardia, a lecturer in the English department, said he represented instructors in the school’s writing program who he said have a base annual salary of about $44,000 and deserve an increase.

“We make a lot of money for the university,” said Laguardia, noting that good writing skills are important in all academic disciplines.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

3 hours ago

(Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Photo)...

Elderly woman presumed dead in northern Arizona after reporting her house on fire

An elderly woman was believed to have been found dead in her northern Arizona home after she had reported that it caught fire on Saturday.

4 hours ago

fall off Gilbert multi-story parking garage...

19-year-old dies after falling from Gilbert parking garage, police say

Police said 19-year-old Mubasher Masood died after falling off the top of a Gilbert multi-story parking garage.

5 hours ago

Gas prices are on the decline in Arizona. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)...

Danny Shapiro

Arizona gas prices on the fall heading into Memorial Day weekend

Arizona drivers will get the benefit of decreasing gas prices heading into Memorial Day weekend.

7 hours ago

Surprise man killed his two children in murder-suicide, police say...

Serena O'Sullivan

Surprise father killed his 2 children in murder-suicide, police say

A Surprise man killed his two children in an apparent murder-suicide on May 20, 2024, according to police.

7 hours ago


Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

University of Arizona students, teachers angry over $240M budget shortfall