Last week, the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) approved over $2.4 million in salaries and bonuses for all three presidents of the state’s public universities — making them among the highest paid public employees in the state.
Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael Crow received a pay raise of over $38,500, bringing his base salary to over $809,800, as well as a $90,000 bonus. Crow also receives perks: housing, a vehicle allowance, and retirement contributions. ABOR extended his contract through June 2027.
Northern Arizona University (NAU) President José Luis Cruz Rivera received the largest pay raise of $61,800, bringing his base salary to $576,800, as well as a $75,000 bonus. ABOR extended his contract through June 2025.
University of Arizona (UArizona) President Robert Robbins received a pay raise of over $37,700, bringing his base salary to over $792,200. Robbins also received a $75,000 bonus. ABOR extended his contract through June 2025 as well.
The three presidents’ bonuses were contingent on the achievement of various at-risk goals.
Crow met all three at-risk goals: a strategy to address educational gaps in the state, a plan for the launch of at least one of the five Future Science and Technology Centers in the Fulton Schools of Engineering, and clarifying and documenting the expectations for relationships among ASU’s Teaching, Learning, and Knowledge Enterprises.
For Crow, an additional $150,000 in at-risk compensation goals were proposed for next year, each worth $50,000 if met: design and launch a premium brand for ASU online; develop and launch a plan to move the three core brands of the W.P. Carey School of Business, the Fulton Schools of Engineering, and the Barrett Honors College into three global brands; and design and launch a new Health Futures Strategy that includes a holistic approach around health sciences and launch preparations for the Public Health Technology School.
Crow also has five at-risk compensation goals through 2024 worth an additional $160,000. These goals will require Crow to demonstrate increased enrollment and student success in adaptive learning courses by offering over 15 courses, with an increase in overall course completion to over 80 percent; increase enrollment of Arizona students and number of graduates by over 10 percent; complete the design of the Global Futures Library with engagement of over 700 faculty members, as well as merge the three schools of the College of Global Futures; build and document enhanced regional collaboration in research; and demonstrate substantial expansion of ASU Digital Prep to at least 150 in-state schools, predominantly rural and underperforming schools.
Cruz Rivera also had three at-risk goals, which he met: a leadership team for NAU, restructured pricing and financial aid along with marketing and recruiting, and a set of goals and objectives to rebrand NAU.
For the upcoming year, Cruz Rivera has $135,000 in at-risk compensation goals aligned with the rebranding and restructuring efforts at NAU, each worth $45,000. Cruz Rivera must develop and implement a “New NAU System” to encompass in-person, online, and hybrid learning modalities, branch campuses, community college partnerships, and engagement with the state’s K-12 system. Cruz Rivera must also transform NAU Online, as well as increase enrollments and enhance career preparation opportunities.
Through 2024, Cruz Rivera is tasked with $120,000 in at-risk compensation goals, each worth $30,000. Cruz Rivera must expand the number of students from working-class families, increase overall graduation rates, and narrow completion gaps for working-class, first-generation, and minority groups; expand the Allied Health Programs and traditional NAU programs into Maricopa, Pima, and Yuma counties as well as distributed learning centers outside these three counties; and increase NAU profile, visibility, and programs for both Latino and Native American communities throughout the state and nationwide.
Robbins also met his three at-risk goals for this year: a new budget model that reduced college and department overhead costs by at least $10 million, a strategy to raise attainment in southern Arizona, and progress toward creating a Center for Advanced Immunology at the PBC.
In the coming year, Robbins faces $135,000 in at-risk compensation goals: secure at least $200 million in initial funding commitment from the state, local government, or private donors by next June for the Center for Advanced Molecular Immunotherapies; develop a plan to centralize responsibility and balance local authority in the university-wide administrative functional areas of Information Technology and Financial and Business Services by next June; and complete the transition of the UArizona Global Campus as an affiliated partner to its final stage under the full authority and oversight of UArizona by next June.
Then, Robbins faces $120,000 in at-risk compensation goals through the end of 2024: increasing retention by 85.5 percent; leveraging the Washington office of UArizona to increase federal research funding by 10 percent; progressing toward enhancing student experience and outcomes of the UArizona Global Campus; implementing an Information Technology security governance framework; and coordinating a collaborative relationship with ASU and NAU that raises the research potential of the UArizona College of Medicine Phoenix.
Of nearly 400 national universities, none of Arizona’s three public universities broke the top 100 on the latest rankings of national universities. The lowest-ranked school was Northern Arizona University (NAU) at 288, followed by Arizona State University (ASU) at 117, and then University of Arizona (UArizona) at 103.
This data came from the U.S. News 2022 college rankings.
NAU tied for their 288 ranking with 10 other schools, barely eking out a ranking at all. After 288, U.S. News ranked each school without specificity in a range of 299 to 391. Among those not given a specific ranking were University of Phoenix and Grand Canyon University.
The 10 schools tied with NAU were Dallas Baptist University in Texas, East Tennessee State University, Long Island University in New York, Marshall University in West Virginia, Middle Tennessee State University, Portland State University in Oregon, South Dakota State University, University of Hawaii at Hilo, University of Puerto Rico – Rico Piedras, and University of Texas at Arlington.
NAU averaged a six-year graduation rate of 55 percent, with those who didn’t receive a Pell Grant doing better (61 percent) than those who did (50 percent).
NAU’s median starting salary for alumni is $48,100, and average an acceptance rate of 82 percent.
ASU tied for their 117 ranking with four other schools: Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in New York, University of South Carolina, and University of Vermont.
ASU averaged a six-year graduation rate of 69 percent, with those who didn’t receive a Pell Grant doing better (71 percent) than those who did (59 percent).
ASU ranked 1 for most innovative school, 10 for best undergraduate teaching, tied at 54 for top public schools, tied at 70 for best colleges for veterans, 139 for best value schools, and tied at 179 for top performers on social mobility.
ASU’s median starting salary for alumni is $54,400, and average an acceptance rate of 88 percent.
UArizona tied for their 103 ranking with 13 other schools: Clark University in Massachusetts, Creighton University in Nebraska, Drexel University in Pennsylvania, Loyola University Chicago in Illinois, Miami University in Ohio, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Saint Louis University in Missouri, Temple University in Pennsylvania, University of California Santa Cruz, University of Illinois Chicago, University of San Francisco in California, University of South Florida, and University of Tennessee Knoxville.
UArizona averaged a six-year graduation rate of 64 percent, with those who didn’t receive a Pell Grant doing better (68 percent) than those who did (59 percent).
UArizona tied at 46 for most innovative school and for top public school, tied at 62 for best colleges for veterans, ranked 122 for best value school, and tied at 143 for top performers on social mobility.
UArizona’s median starting salary for alumni is $55,600, and average an acceptance rate of 85 percent.
The top ten national universities were, in order: Princeton University ranked at 1; Columbia University, Harvard University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology tied at 2; Yale University ranked at 5; Stanford University and University of Chicago tied at 6; University of Pennsylvania ranked at 8; and California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, and Northwestern University tied at 9.
The remaining three of the eight Ivy League schools — Brown University, Cornell University, and Dartmouth College — fell outside the top 10 but ranked within the top 20.
A new Tucson-based abortion rights group, Arizonans for Reproductive Freedom, began gathering signatures for a ballot initiative making abortion a right within the Arizona Constitution. The group filed their application last Monday. With a July 7 deadline, they have a little over six weeks to collect over 356,000 signatures to qualify.
A University of Arizona (UArizona) College of Medicine professor and Tucson OB-GYN, Dr. Victoria Fewell, filed the application as the group’s chairwoman alongside the group’s treasurer: UArizona Senior Program Coordinator, Planned Parenthood Arizona Secretary, and former Pima County Democratic Party Executive Director Shasta McManus.
McManus has been active with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona (PPAZ), recently voicing over a biographical feature on avowed communist activist and Black Panthers supporter, alleged black militant, and University of California professor Dr. Angela Davis. Last week, PPAZ Chairwoman Chris Love bragged about her husband assaulting a black Trump supporter while at a pro-abortion rally in Phoenix.
The proposed constitutional amendment not only declared the right to elective abortions at any point in a woman’s pregnancy. It reads as follows:
Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which entails the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.
Neither the state nor any political subdivision shall restrict, penalize, frustrate, or otherwise interfere with the exercise of the right to reproductive freedom, including: any individual’s access to contraception; pre-viability medical and surgical termination of pregnancy; or medical and surgical termination of pregnancy when necessary to preserve the individual’s health or life.
Neither the state nor any political subdivision shall restrict, penalize, frustrate, or otherwise interfere with a qualified, licensed healthcare professional providing medical services or any person providing non-medical services necessary for the exercise of the right to reproductive freedom.
The term ‘viability’ means the point in a pregnancy at which, in the good-faith medical judgment of the qualified, licensed healthcare professional, based on the particular facts of the case before the healthcare professional, there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained fetal survival outside the uterus with or without artificial support.
The activist group also began asking for donations.
The group filed the ballot initiative application about two weeks after the leak of a Supreme Court draft ruling determining whether abortions constitute a state issue.
In February, leadership within the University of Arizona (UArizona) sciences published papers championing an old claim made by the Chinese government: that COVID-19 originated naturally at a Chinese wet market. Also behind those papers were researchers intimately steeped in government efforts to prove that COVID-19 didn’t leak from a lab whose research on coronaviruses was funded by the government — the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China.
UArizona Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department Head Michael Worobey and PhD student Lorena Malpica Serrano co-authored two papers alongside 34 scientists to claim that COVID-19 came from two encounters with animals at a wet market. One of those scientists, virologist Robert Garry, was hand-selected by NIH director Francis Collins to dispute whistleblower research from summer 2021 that COVID-19 was engineered at the Wuhan Institute of Virology eight miles from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Another scientist, Netherlands molecular expert Marion Koopmans, served on the World Health Organization (WHO) mission in early 2021 to analyze the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan — a mission that concluded with a report blaming wet market animals that was fraught with errors, rejected by WHO leadership, haunted by claims of Chinese government interference, and ultimately walked back on by several mission members.
Over the last year, Worobey has researched for a connection between COVID-19 and the Chinese wet market. Last March, Worobey teamed up with four other researchers to posit in a paper that COVID-19 wasn’t the first coronavirus outbreak among humans — three of those researchers, University of California in San Diego scientists Jonathan Pekar, Niema Moshiri, and Joel Wertheim joined him on the two papers published most recently. That paper claimed that an earlier variant successfully jumped from animals to humans between mid-October and mid-November of 2019. Worobey and his peers largely dismissed the notion that COVID-19 originated at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
“The first described cluster of COVID-19 was associated with the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in late December 2019, and the earliest sequenced SARS-CoV-2 genomes came from this cluster,” read the report. “However, this market cluster is unlikely to have denoted the beginning of the pandemic, as COVID-19 cases from early December lacked connections to the market. The earliest such case in the scientific literature is from an individual retrospectively diagnosed on 1 December 2019. Notably, however, newspaper reports document retrospective COVID-19 diagnoses recorded by the Chinese government going back to 17 November 2019 in Hubei province. These reports detail daily retrospective COVID-19 diagnoses through the end of November, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 was actively circulating for at least a month before it was discovered.”
Then last November, eight months after the collaborative March paper, Worobey appeared to believe more greatly that the wet market was the origins for COVID-19. He published a solo paper examining available records to link the virus to the wet market. It appears that three months after that solo paper, less than a year after dismissing the notion that the wet market was the origin of COVID-19, Worobey and several of his colleagues came to completely flip on their prior findings.
Their latest paper was picked up by the New York Times as a feature story. The acclaimed preprint recounted how the scientists studied a plethora of data, including virus genes, market stall maps, and social media activity of the earliest COVID-19 patients following several weeks in 2019 at the Huanan wet market. However, the Times noted that the papers didn’t identify the market animal that spread COVID-19 to humans.
In fact, no American or Chinese scientists were able to test the market animals claimed to be the cause of the COVID-19 outbreak; before anyone could, Chinese police shut down and disinfected the market. Only after Chinese police finished their work were scientists with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention able to come test the area. Since there were no market animals left, the researchers sampled market interiors and stray animals. That was in January 2020. The Chinese scientists sat on this collected evidence until several months ago, a day before Worobey’s report at the end of February. The Chinese government’s report conflicted with the Worobey papers, noting that the sampled animals were negative for the virus and that all evidence of COVID-19 was found in relation to human activity in the surrounding environment.
In the year prior to Worobey and his colleagues advancing the argument that COVID originated from the wet market, an outside researcher attempted to enlighten the conflicting narratives. This scientist claimed in a paper that the virus was engineered in a lab within miles of the wet market.
As Vanity Fair reported, evolutionary biologist Jesse Bloom authored his standalone paper after discovering the disappearance of several Chinese papers detailing several SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences. The sequences are like points on a sequential map, allowing scientists to track the origins and evolution of a virus. Bloom suspected that the Chinese government destroyed evidence of the genomic sequences because they engineered the COVID-19 virus. His further investigation caused him to believe that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) deleted evidence as well at the behest of the Chinese government. Bloom passed his findings laid out in the paper on to Dr. Anthony Fauci and Collins.
Bloom’s paper was with contention from outside experts brought forth by Collins in a meeting: an evolutionary biologist, Kristian Andersen, and the virologist involved in Worobey’s latest papers, Robert Garry. Andersen accused Bloom of unethical behavior for daring to investigate something that Chinese scientists deleted. Andersen insisted that the genomic sequences from Wuhan were of no concern.
Fauci sided with Andersen. He vouched for the Chinese scientists’ integrity, noting that their reasons for deleting the sequences were unknown. Yet, both he and Collins didn’t agree with Andersen when he pressured Bloom to allow edits to his paper.
As the Vanity Fair article outlined, Fauci and Collins had a vested interest to support the notions of natural transmission, not a lab leak, because of their relationship with EcoHealth Alliance — the nonprofit research organization that funded the coronavirus bat research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Emails obtained through public records requests revealed that EcoHealth Alliance CEO Peter Daszak thanked Fauci for dismissing lab leak theories, with Fauci responding in kind.
In a joint letter last week to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), University of Arizona (UArizona) current and alumnae swimmers and coaches criticized the decision to allow transgender University of Pennsylvania (Penn) swimmer Lia (née William) Thomas to compete in the Division 1 national championships. The UArizona group asserted that the NCAA “failed everyone” by trying to “appease everyone,” insisting that Thomas worked against the equality of women in sports enshrined by Title IX.
“We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX this year. From the birth of the NCAA in 1906 until 1972, women had to fight to earn the law that provided equal opportunities for women in sports. It took a male to female transgender person one year to take the women’s swimming national championship title,” wrote the group. “This is not equality. Women’s standings, titles, records, and scholarships are suddenly at risk again. Opening the door to allowing natural born men to acquire precious, life altering financial aid packages often split up between multiple women per team defeats the very essence of the flagship legislation we are ironically celebrating this very year.”
The swimmers and coaches also noted that the UArizona Athletics Director, Associate AD for Diversity, and Senior Women’s Advocate remained silent on the issue of transgender women — men — in women’s sports.
Thomas won the 500 freestyle race, but lost in the 200 and 100 freestyle races; however, Thomas reportedly has lost races intentionally in the recent past. Teammates who reported his intentional losses claimed that he was trying to prove that males don’t have biological advantages to females, observing that it was clear Thomas wasn’t trying. They speculated that Thomas colluded with a transgender male swimmer from Yale University, Iszac Henig, so Henig would beat Thomas and make it appear as though women could outperform men.
“Looking at [Thomas’] time, I don’t think [Thomas] was trying,” the Penn swimmer alleges. “I know [Thomas and Henig are] friends and I know they were talking before the meet. I think [Thomas] let her win to prove the point that, ‘Oh see, a female-to-male beat me.’”
The UArizona swimmers credited their decision to submit their letter based on a letter submitted by University of Texas (UT) alumnae and coaches a week prior. Among those on the UT letter were Olympians and UT Hall of Honor inductees, as well as pro golfer and UT Hall of Honor inductee Cindy Figg-Currier.
The letter, first published in Swimming World Magazine, is reproduced in full below:
Dear NCAA Board of Governors,
Do we have a voice?
It’s hard to express the anguish the women’s swim community has experienced this past week watching the 2022 NCAA Swim & Dive Championships. On one hand, we feel we are witnessing irrevocable damage to a sport that has transformed our own identities for the better. On the other, we have reconnected with each other in sisterhood after many busy years living our lives beyond the water’s edge. We are grateful for the many women who have stood up to publicly speak up in protest of your policies including UT’s swim alumni who penned a thoughtful letter to their Athletic Director and inspired us to write from the University of Arizona alumni perspective. We have collected some of our own thoughts on paper to plead to swimming leadership at every level to take immediate action to protect our women athletes.
In 2008, USA Swimming chief Chuck Wielgus was asked to comment on a “culture of fair play” regarding a female swimmer who had tested positive for a banned anabolic agent called Clenbuterol. He claimed at the time “within the culture of swimming, if you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing, we want to catch you and throw you out of the sport. In other sports, it’s about excuses and justifications and being innocent until you’re proven guilty.” According to the USADA website, Clenbuterol is prohibited in sport because it “promotes muscle growth through anabolic properties.” The Mayo Clinic reports “the main anabolic steroid hormone produced by the body is testosterone” and that it “has anabolic effects promoting muscle building.” In a little over a decade, USA Swimming, the leading organization of swimming in the world has surrendered its firm stance on fair play. This has encouraged other organizations such as the NCAA to make accommodations for biological men who have had the benefits of testosterone throughout natural development and beyond.
According to Duke’s Center for Sports Law and Policy, “there is an average 10-12% performance gap between elite males and elite females” in sport. What advantage does testosterone have for natural born men in swimming specifically? This year in the 500 freestyle the men’s A standard qualifying time is 4:11.62. The women’s A standard qualifying time was 4:35.76. That is a difference of 24.14 seconds. To put that into perspective, the male swimmer in the last seed going into the meet would be two full laps ahead of his female counterpart in this event. This one example alone demonstrates the advantages a biologically male swimmer has over a female. Physiological advantages exist.
Looking back on another moment in swim history, in 2010 FINA banned the use of high tech performance swim suits as the “shiny suit era” saw “records falling at an alarming rate” due to a competitive advantage given to swimmers who had the suits available to them. This year at the fastest short course swim meet in the world, the body inside the suit is what raises cause for concern.
The decisions of the NCAA this year hoped to appease everyone by allowing Lia Thomas to compete directly with women. Instead, the NCAA has successfully failed everyone. A target was placed on the back of a trans athlete subjecting this person to devastating national outcry and humiliation. This swimmer’s lone points for Penn this March catapulted a team to a top-20 program in the country after failing to score a single point last year. Additionally, women athletes competing in the meet were forced to swim in unfair direct competition therefore eliminating all integrity of the entire championship meet.
We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX this year. From the birth of the NCAA in 1906 until 1972, women had to fight to earn the law that provided equal opportunities for women in sports. It took a male to female transgender person one year to take the women’s swimming national championship title. This is not equality. Women’s standings, titles, records, and scholarships are suddenly at risk again. Opening the door to allowing natural born men to acquire precious, life altering financial aid packages often split up between multiple women per team defeats the very essence of the flagship legislation we are ironically celebrating this very year.
Female to male transgender athletes do not have the same opportunities as their male to female counterparts. They are heavily disadvantaged when it comes to earning a spot on the team they identify due to strength and speed differences between gender categories. This was represented this year in the 100 freestyle by Yale’s Iszac Henig, a transgender male competing at the women’s championship. This swimmer placed fifth in the event. Henig’s time of 47.52 earned the swimmer an All-American award and added 13.5 points to Yale’s team score. Had Henig chosen to swim at the men’s competition however, the same time would have failed to even reach the men’s A qualifying time of 41.71 by almost six seconds dashing the whisper of a chance this swimmer would even step up to the block.
There were many options the NCAA could have implemented to create a fair environment for women competitors. A trans athlete could compete in the meet that aligns with birth gender such as Henig did. At the championship level, there are 10 lanes available in the pool while only 8 swimmers compete per heat. Therefore, a trans athlete could have been added to any finals heat in addition to the 16 women who qualified without pushing any of the deserving women out of the finals such as VT’s Reka Gyorgy , who personally spoke out about the inequality she was subjected to being shut out of the finals. Trans specific heats with separate awards categories and scoring was another alternative. The NCAA could have implemented the more stringent USA Swimming guidelines at the very least. Moving forward, trans swim meets could be organized and built into a new category of athletic competition similar to the Paralympic or Special Olympic platforms to continue to widen the umbrella of inclusion in athletics.
We are writing this letter to the NCAA who has a President at the helm responsible for cutting both the University of Washington’s swimming programs in 2009. Mr. Emmert stood firmly by his decisions as “the right ones for us.” The NCAA Board of Governors is predominantly men. Of the 65 Athletic Directors in the Power 5, only 5 are women. At the University of Arizona, our Athletics Director, Associate AD for Diversity, and Senior Women’s Advocate have remained silent on this issue unfolding over the course of this entire season. These revelations and disparities alarm us when it seems there was no urgency in skillfully and educationally addressing how the scientific and biologic differences may impact women’s competitions. Do we have a voice? The people responsible for protecting women’s swimming should swiftly rectify the guidelines. The women from the University of Arizona will not quietly stand down while our victories and accomplishments float away.
We are eager and willing to discuss directly with the NCAA potential steps it can implement to create new solutions for the expanding athletic family. Please contact us with your next steps towards a fairer future.