ASURA and its History

Cover of "A Second Decade of Success"Cover of "A Decade of Success"

To learn more about the history of ASURA, read our books, "A Decade of Success" and "A Second Decade of Success". You may read them here on-line, or download them to your e-book (PDF format), and/or members may pick up a free paperback copy at our office. Copyright ASURA, all rights reserved.

ASURA was founded in 1991, and it has been growing and developing ever since.

The organization was created through the efforts of several retired and current (at the time) ASU employees who believed that an association that included both faculty and staff would be important in advocating for ASU retirees, and also in advocating for ASU. The Office of Public Affairs was instrumental in ASURA's initial formation and in 2003 its ASU sponsorship of ASURA was formalized.

From the beginning one of ASURA’s main functions has been to serve as a watchdog and advocate for retirees, lobbying for their best interests at the State Legislature and with State agencies, and working with ASU departments and leaders for access to university services. Following are a few examples (not an exhaustive list) of successful advocacy. It should be noted that lobbying at the Legislature is done carefully, and with the knowledge of ASU's Public Affairs, so as not to do something that inadvertantly might harm ASU's own efforts. It is also important that ASU has also worked with its sister retirees' associations at UofA and NAU so that we might have a united front in approaching the Legislature.

  • 1992 - At President Coor's request, contacted legislators to oppose proposed funding cuts to ASU;
  • 1992 - Lobbied for and supported legislation granting State retirees an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA). A bill providing a 5% increase for one year did pass.
  • 1993 - Obtained a 50% membership discount for university retirees at the University Club;
  • 1993 - Got the ASU athletic department to rescind an announced price increase for retirees' athletic tickets.
  • 1993 - Obtained access for retirees to university facilities, including exercise equipment in SRC and use of ASU computing services;
  • 1994 - Supported ASU in its successful quest to avert legislation that would remove tuition waivers for dependents of university employees;
  • 1995 - Obtained privilege for ASU retirees to purchase on-campus parking;
  • 1995 - Obtained a reduction in golf fees for retirees at Karsten Golf Course;
  • 1995 - Lobbied successfully to get the Legislature to increase its health insurance contribution for those whose retirement is through the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS);
  • 1998 - Lobbied the legislature for a reduction in the threshold for COLA and to again increase the health insurance subsidy (ASRS);
  • 1999 - Worked in support of Proposition 100, which passed, thereby protecting ASRS funds from invasion by the Legislature;
  • 2000 - Advocated successfully for a 5% increase in monthly retirees pensions;
  • 2001 to 2005 - Continued advocating for increases in ASRS benefits, many of which were implemented;
  • 2006-2011 - Supported changes in the ASRS that prevent abuse and that adjust for changing demographics, thereby helping assure the long-term health of the retirement fund;
  • 2009 - Advocated for providing the same discounts for staff retirees as emeritus faculty were receiving at the ASU Computer Store. This was eventually successful.
  • 2011 - Successfully supported ASU in its effort to avert legislation that would have allowed guns on campus.

In addition to this major focus, the organization sponsors a number of programs that contribute to the community. There is a video history project that is documenting ASU's past, an annual student scholarship, and an Adopt-a-Family project.

ASURA also offers a range of activities for its members. There are seminars with topics of interest to retirees, and there are Fall, Holiday, and Spring luncheons, and local, state, national, and international trips.

Retirees often join ASURA to support its watchdog activities, but also as a way of maintaining associations with people they knew while employed. Active membership is also a way to make new and interesting friends. ASURA is a diverse group of people, and generally a cheerful group. Although there were initially fears that faculty would dominate a joint organization, that has not proved to be the case: there have been an almost equal number of faculty and staff in leadership positions since founding.