UAA Student Constitutional Convention
Once in a Decade
The students formulated and debated a series of resolutions proposing changes to Alaska's constitution. Many of the students were enrolled in courses offered by the Justice Center and the history and political science departments where participation in the convention was a course requirement option. A small faculty steering committee, assisted by a former Alaska Attorney General, designed and planned the convention. Students met in three general preparatory sessions during the semester before the convention; there they divided into seven study groups focused in various aspects of the Alaska constitution (e.g. the judicial article, fiscal matters, administration). Student group leaders held electronic discussions of various issues. Local attorneys volunteered to meet with the groups to help them understand the constitutional implications of proposed resolutions.
Delegates to the convention debated and then voted on fourteen proposed resolutions. The debates were spirited, informed and civil. Delegates approved resolutions calling for a rural preference for subsistence harvest of traditional resources, for the addition of "sexual preference and gender identity" to the constitutional language barring discrimination, elimination of the mandatory retirement age for judges, among others. They rejected dedication of a percentage of Permanent Fund earnings to education, and constitutional responsibility for health insurance, and for pre-school education and day-care, among others.
A summary of the convention and all debated resolutions can be found at
Student delegates confer with expert advisors