May 9, 2013 12:35 AM by Rebecca Taylor

College students rally to 'Save Pima Pride'

TUCSON - 'Save Pima Pride' that was the message from dozens of Pima College students, staff and alumni Wednesday night.

They organized a rally and march calling for the resignation of four of the five members of Pima's governing board.

This, after the Higher Learning Commission put the school on probation and threatened to pull its accreditation.

An independent report uncovered a "culture of fear and intimidation" under former Chancellor, Roy Flores.

Students led the rally showing up in large numbers. They marched from a nearby park to the PCC district offices.

Using a bullhorn, April Dinius led the crowd in a chant: "When I say Pima, you say pride."

She's a student, mother and president of the student body at PCC's downtown campus.

Dinus and fellow student Joseph McGrath, a war veteran say they organized this rally in eight days.

"Pima has been mislead by our administration," McGrath said.

McGrath wants four of five board members to step down.

All worked under former Chancellor Roy Flores. A report by the Higher Learning Commission detailed their mishandling of sexual harassment complaints against Flores.
Among other tarnishing problems.

"I would love to see Pima shine and operate at its full potential," says McGrath.

For now, Pima's probation isn't expected to affect students. That would change if the school fails to fix its problems, within the two year window set by the HLC.

"This effects me personally because if we lose accreditation I don't know where I'm going to go," says Dinius, "I have two children, I have a family, this is my full time job. I need to get my nursing degree and I can't afford to go to a University."

Without accredited status, PCC could no longer offer federal aid to students and its credits would not transfer.
McGrath hopes it never comes to that.

"It's very nerve-wracking, but Pima is such a major part of the Tucson community that I don't think anybody believes that we'll lose our accreditation," says McGrath.

The group also started a petition. So far, they've received more than 500 signatures.


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