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University of Arizona starts a microcampus to serve Pascua Yaqui Tribe

The University of Arizona has established a microcampus serving the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in southern Arizona.

In 2017, the university announced it wanted to launch 25 such campuses worldwide. So far, 13 global locations in which students can get a UA degree exist.

But the establishment of a campus on the Pascua Yaqui reservation is groundbreaking.

Serina Preciado is education director for the tribe and said she hopes courses that address sovereign nation building will be offered.  

“You know, what does it mean to be a sovereign people and how do we leverage our sovereignty, our self-determination, to be able to develop the strongest community that we can, to develop the strongest workforce that we can?” she asked.

Robert Williams Jr., professor in the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the university, said he hopes the campus will increase tribal students’ rates of retention and graduation by being situated near the reservation.

“The basic idea is to really bring the tremendous amount of resources, teaching, research expertise and library resources out to the reservation,” he said.

The new campus is housed in the Tucson Unified School District's old Hohokam Elementary School building.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been modified to correct the spelling of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe's name.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.