Now everyone can see what kinds of sacrifices are required to honestly deal with Arizona’s billion-dollar budget deficits.
Arizona State University President Michael Crow revealed Tuesday to Tribune writer Ryan Gabrielson that he’s preparing to close the Polytechnic campus at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Crow says he has little choice in light of a proposed $150 million in spending cuts.
Make no mistake, closing ASU Polytechnic would be devastating. The campus has been growing rapidly because south East Valley students love attending classes there, and they appreciate the innovative, hands-on training that’s being offered for a variety of degrees. Meanwhile, area governments and private enterprise alike have been counting heavily on that college to fuel high-tech economic development at Gateway airport.
But when it comes to hard budget choices, we can see the logic of targeting the Polytechnic campus.
ASU West is an older, more established campus. A third satellite campus in Downtown Phoenix is younger, but taxpayers have spent far more on building and infrastructure construction there than at Polytechnic. Besides, ASU would face more political fallout if it sought to abandon its recent commitment to Arizona’s capital city.
If Crow changes his mind about Polytechnic in the coming weeks, or if East Valley officials rally to save the campus in some capacity, that will force more budget cuts to land on other programs and other campuses in the ASU system. Somehow, somewhere, hundreds or thousands of ASU employees will lose their jobs and many students will be denied access to classes and college degrees.
It’s not fair. It’s going to hurt. But it’s what the state has to do.