PCC blames Rep. Grijalva for White House postponing Hispanic forum
Reporter: Steve Nuñez
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Congressman Raul Grijalva says, "Don't blame me." But Pima Community College accuses Grijalva of convincing the White House of postponing a Hispanic summit because the democrat opposes a recent change in its admissions standards.
The forum, designed to discuss education, jobs, healthcare and immigration issues, was originally scheduled to take place on October 15th at PCC's West campus.
But Grijalva denied he played a role in forcing the White House to put the event on hold. Instead, he said the complaints came from constituents who share his belief that Pima's new standards are "volatile to the Hispanic community."
"It's about opportunity and its about access," said Grijalva. "You know people are dropping out of school, 50%, shouldn't they have an opportunity to an adult basic education or a GED program to get their lives back together."
C.J. Karamargin, a PCC spokesman, said losing out on hosting a summit that could help set federal policies hurts the entire community.
"The issues that we would be talking about here jobs the economy these cut across all ethnic and demographic lines," said Karamargin.
Karamargin also denied race is a motivating factor.
Pima's new standards will require all students to take a test proving they can read, write and do math at a seventh grade level before taking college classes for credit.
Karamargin points out Chancellor Roy Flores and two of the five governing board members, Chairwoman Marty Cortez and David Longoria, who voted in favor are all hispanic.
9 On Your Side Reporter Steve Nuñez asked: "By raising the standards are you limiting access to education?"
"Not at all," said Karamargin. "In fact we are opening doors to education."
But Grijalva said a community college, funded by taxpayers, should remain open to all people seeking to further their education.
"Does it mean everybody's going to come out with a degree? No.," said Grijalva. "But does it mean that people improve and do better? Absolutely."
PCC's new admission standards take effect in March.
The college tells 9 On Your Side White House officials have yet to reschedule the summit.