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Hobbs asks for meeting with regents and University of Arizona amid financial woes

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(The Center Square) – Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs lambasted the Arizona Board of Regents on Monday and requested a meeting between her, the board, and the University of Arizona in hopes of solving the school’s ongoing financial woes.

The university is navigating a $177 million shortfall as there was spending over the allotted amount across the board, according to Inside Higher Ed. Hobbs is placing some of the blame onto the board for what she says is neglecting to closely examine the university’s finances, which is part of the governing body’s job in overseeing the state’s three public universities.

“New facts have come to light that once again show the Arizona Board of Regents failed in their oversight role and highlight a university leadership that was clueless as to their own finances,” she said in a statement on Monday.

Inside Higher Ed explained that the university’s faculty senate is at odds with Chair Fred DuVal, accusing him of a potential conflict of interest regarding the university’s finances. However, the governor expressed frustration with the board’s handling of the allegations.

“I cannot be more clear: because of Chair Duval and the Board’s actions, university employees are going to lose their jobs. Attacking faculty is not, and never will be, the answer,” Hobbs said.

“This lack of accountability and continued scapegoating can no longer continue. I am demanding an in-person meeting with ABOR leadership and President Robbins immediately where we will discuss next steps,” she added.

In a statement emailed to The Center Square, DuVal said he’s looking forward to discussing the matter with Hobbs to clear the air.

“On matters related to both the financial difficulties at UArizona and the integration of UAGC, we have strived at all times to be transparent, detailed and specific in the information provided to the Governor’s office and the general public,” DuVal said.

“ABOR takes seriously its constitutional duty to oversee each of our state’s public universities. The Board and Governor have a shared interest in seeing UArizona succeed, and that will require working together to help resolve the important issues facing this great university,” he added.

Meanwhile, a group of Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature are backing the University of Arizona’s President Robert Robbins and interim CFO John Arnold’s plan to resolve the budget issues. Arnold is also ABOR’s Executive Director, and not all of lawmakers are keen on backing up Robbins, KJZZ reported.

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