July 24, 2004
Arizona State University will send nine professors, researchers and provosts from its main Tempe campus and ASU East to Mexico next week for an "exploratory’’ trip — but Friday, officials were releasing few details about the costs or benefits.
Jay Golden, co-director for ASU’s Sustainable Technologies Program, who is leading talks in Mexico, refused to discuss the trip. ASU said it could not release costs.
It has become common for ASU professors and officials to visit Mexico.
"There’s trips that go to the (Tecnologico de Monterrey university) all the time,’’ said Shannon Wulf, manager of strategic relations and planning for the Pan American Initiatives. ‘’No big announcement is going to come out of this trip, nothing like that. It’s just one of those trips that needs to take place, so that the right people can get in the room and sit down and do the work.’’
The initiatives program, developed last year under ASU President Michael Crow, aims to expand ASU research and teaching into aspects of Hispanic culture and society.
Two ASU groups will travel separately to Tecnologico de Monterrey, a university with students at 30 campuses in Mexico and nine centers in other Latin American countries. Tecnologico de Monterrey also has a virtual university.
Each ASU college maintains its own travel budget so the initiative office could not provide travel costs. Wulf estimated airfare at $300 and hotel stays at $70 per night. Each person is responsible for reserving flights and hotels. ASU representatives plan to stay one or two nights.
Using Wulf’s estimates, the Tribune determined the trip will cost the publicly funded university about $3,500. The Mexican university usually provides local travel and meals.
"It’s a minimal cost,’’ Wulf said. "It’s not an extravagant trip.’’
ASU and Monterrey also communicate as much as possible by e-mail and telephone, Wulf added.
Claudia Navarro, assistant director of the initiative, referred the Tribune to Golden for details. Wulf also contacted him. Golden declined an interview.
"He would be the person to talk about it,’’ Wulf said, adding he is "kind of a private person . . . I think that he wants to get it more firmed up before it comes out in the paper.’’
Wulf said the trips will allow ASU to create joint research projects, primarily for faculty and possibly for graduate students. Navarro called the trips exploratory.
"Everything goes with the objective with opening ASU internationally,’’ Navarro said.