ARIZONA NEWS

Hobbs asks for transparency, accountability from UArizona leadership, ABOR moving forward

Mar 7, 2024, 8:00 AM | Updated: Mar 8, 2024, 9:17 am

In response to a financial crisis and disarray within the University of Arizona, Gov. Katie Hobbs r...

In response to a financial crisis and disarray within the University of Arizona, Gov. Katie Hobbs requested transparency and accountability from both university leadership and the Arizona Board of Regents. (University of Arizona Photo)

(University of Arizona Photo)

PHOENIX — In response to a financial crisis and disarray within the University of Arizona, Gov. Katie Hobbs requested transparency and accountability from both university leadership and the Arizona Board of Regents.

In a meeting, Hobbs laid out her expectations that she believes will not only help resolve financial issues at the university, but also propel the school forward.

“From day one, when the financial mismanagement at the University of Arizona became public, my goal has been to restore the public’s faith and trust in this institution,” Hobbs said in a press release.

“There is a long road ahead of us to fix the financial mismanagement and ensure the university emerges from this situation stronger than it was before. Now is the time for ABOR and university leadership to step up to ensure that this situation is not just resolved, but resolved in a way that propels this university forward.”

Here’s what Hobbs said is expected from UArizona, ABOR

Addressing the budget crisis, Hobbs said the university and ABOR moving forward must consult with external experts in improving financial processes and procedures, provide monthly financial updates on the progress made and prioritize employees with longer lengths of service when assessing potential layoffs.

The university is expected to resolve issues related to the University of Arizona Global Campus and the U.S. Department of Education.

The controversial University of Arizona Global Campus, established after the acquisition of Ashford University in 2020, has drawn criticism for potentially adding nearly $200 million in additional finances. For the current fiscal year ending on June 30, 2024, the budget overview for UAGC reveals operational costs of $232.2 million, partially covered by revenues totaling $229.8 million. This results in a projected operating budget deficit of $2.4 million.

Further, leadership was tasked with ensuring that the new advisory council doesn’t silence existing groups and remains include of elected leadership.

What sparked the meeting with Hobbs, ABOR and UArizona?

ABOR and the University of Arizona Faculty Senate have been working to fix a $177 million deficit.

Over the last several weeks, a member of UArizona’s Faculty Senate made statements that former ABOR chair Fred DuVal took as defamatory. Following his public response to the allegations of a conflict of interest issue, Hobbs chastised the board saying “attacking faculty is not, and never will be, the answer.”

In late February, she demanded a meeting with ABOR leadership and the University’s President Robert Robbins to discuss what would happen moving forward.

Hobbs’ expectations follow a Monday announcement from Arizona Board of Regents Chair Elect Cecilia Mata, who said she intended to reduce the salary of the president by 10%.

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Hobbs asks for transparency, accountability from UArizona leadership, ABOR moving forward