Robert Shelton Speaks

On tuition increases:

"... I'm sure tuition will go up, but what we need to do is make sure it's rational, it's planned, and that we couple it with financial aid so that we're providing as much predictability, accessibility and affordability as we can. ... It's all this uncertainty that I think is very unfair to students and their families."

On the stalled construction of a UA bioscience park on the city's southside:

"Like a lot of development projects, you've got this ball of string with many threads that go to make it up. Certainly, we feel that it would be important to our faculty, our students and to the community to have a vibrant bioscience park. We think we can make a vibrant bioscience park at that location. Now, for that to happen, there are a lot of steps. The first step is the city and the developers, Eastbourne, have to decide what they're going to do about the big-box ordinance, and I'm not going to get in the middle of that. ... We hope there's a decision that allows us to move forward, working with KB Home and the city to build the bioscience park and do the land swap."

On the related holdup over using potable water on a golf course at the UA Science and Technology Park:

"I don't see how, in this day and age, we can put in wells and, you know, use potable water for a golf course when there are alternatives. That means we need to work closely with the city on setting up the utilities."

On whether or not he'd like to see downtown's proposed UA science center housed within Rafael Viñoly's Rainbow Bridge:

"What we are committed to doing is putting a great science center in there. I would like to see a mix of structures there that gives us the best chance to have a vibrant area for the city there. We can't build the bridge (ourselves)."

On special academic treatment for athletes:

"Well, first of all, they're students, and we need to support them with advising, with guidance--as we do any student. In fact, I think we have an even heavier obligation because of the additional workload that they take on in their athletic endeavors. But they're still students; we want them to get their degrees. We know that the overwhelming majority of college athletes don't make their living in athletics. So, whether a student is an athlete or a nonathlete, we have to make sure that any credit they've received has been earned."

On relations with residents living near the UA:

"We're a big player here in Tucson, and I want to be sure that I understand how people view us and how we can work well together."

On alumni relations:

"I've had two or three meetings with alumni groups already, and I want to reach out to the alumni. People have a passion for this university that we haven't drawn on fully, and I don't mean just asking people for money. More importantly, (we're) asking for time, asking for ideas and drawing on their wisdom."

On what areas and disciplines upon which he'd like the university to focus:

"I think that's more of a decision for the academic leadership, the deans, the provost, the department chairs. But certainly, at a broad level, I would say we need to take advantage of our geographic and our historical situations. Some things we clearly should be world leaders in: astronomy and optics, that's one; hydrology, archeology, geology, anthropology--sort of the studies of the environment and people. ... We have to be very strong on our international programs. We have an international border that's certainly the cause of a lot of passion these days."

On whether a caveman or an astronaut would win in a fight:

"A caveman. I think he'd know how to pull out whatever tricks are necessary."

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