TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The roots of student journalism here on the U of A campus go back decades.
But now the students who work every day to get the paper to press, songs on the radio, and news on the air, feel pushed aside.
"We just were told that we're moving out and that was that." said Olivia Jackson, a senior and General Manager of UATV.
UA Student Media is housed inside the Park Student Union and made up of UATV, KAMP, and The Daily Wildcat. They have spent the past 15 years in this building.
Now however, they have been informed by the University that they will need to leave to make room for the UA Global Center for International Studies.
Editor and Chief of the Daily Wildcat, Jasmine Demers, said their adviser Brett Fera first heard about this last August. It was in the early stages and when he later followed up with it, Demers said he was told it wasn’t going anywhere.
Demers said earlier this year, Fera attended a meeting with other faculty when he found out plans were already in the works to transition the space into the Global Center. He also learned that the University had options for where to put UA Student Media.
One option given to them was the Passport Building on Tyndall Ave. But the students agree that the building won’t work for several reasons including space, no ADA compliance, or the distance to campus.
"We have 6,200 feet right now. They were offering us somewhere in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 square feet.” said Demers.
Demers, along with Olivia Jackson (General Manager of UATV) and Robert Leano (General Manager of KAMP Student Radio) sent a letter to President Robbins to voice why there are such a vital part to campus.
It reads in part:
" As members and students of Arizona Student Media, we are deeply concerned that no suitable or comparable space has been identified for us and that the consequences — unintentional though they may be — could have a damaging impact on the student press and student media on our campus.
Although our facility in the Park Student Union was designed and built specifically for the Daily Wildcat, KAMP and UATV with input from students and staff from that era, we want to make clear that we understand that things change, priorities shift and we can accept the relocation.
So no, we don't want to move. But in the face of reality, we don't want to be unreasonable. All we ask is that we are not relocated to inferior space, that it be more or less equivalent in size and that it be convenient for our 200 student staff members to come and go."
As stated in the letter, the students want to make it clear that they’re not opposed to leaving the building. They just wish they had been given a voice in the matter.
"We're not so concerned about the move as we are about being valued as student journalists. And as the student press on campus.” said Demers.
Their future home is still up in the air. They have to be out of the Park Student Union space by this summer.
All they want now is to make sure wherever they set up roots next benefits everyone.
"We are all graduating. We’re all leaving so [we want]to make sure that legacy that we leave behind is that we don’t leave them with something less than they deserve.” said Olivia Jackson.
On Friday, the University Issued a response:
On behalf of President Robert C. Robbins, we would like to share the most current information regarding plans to renovate Park Student Union to create a UA Global Center. We are committed to finding a permanent home for Arizona Student Media that is appropriate for the vital services our student journalists provide. We will not move forward with plans for the UA Global Center until we find equitable and fair space for the Daily Wildcat, KAMP Student Radio, and UATV. This is our first priority. We have been in conversations with the Director of Arizona Student Media and colleagues in the Planning, Design, and Construction Department to identify space possibilities based upon the Director’s information, i.e. floorplans, square footage, and central campus locations. We are working collaboratively to find a solution that meets the needs of the students and staff of Arizona Student Media. As we continue the design and planning phase for the UA Global Center, we welcome input from the UA community, particularly from students and alumni of Arizona Student Media. We will work tirelessly in the coming days to ensure Arizona Student Media has an equitable space. We look forward to finding a solution that serves everyone.
Jeffrey Goldberg Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Kendal Washington White, Vice Provost for Campus Life, Dean of Students
Brent White, Vice Provost for Global Affairs, Dean, Global Campuses and International Education