Regents postpone vote on declaration of exigency
July 15, 2019
The Board of Regents postponed until July 30 a vote on a declaration of financial
exigency and options for restructuring the University of Alaska during its special
meeting today. After discussion, regents voted 10-1 to postpone a decision. Regents
also decided to have an emergency board meeting on July 22 to continue to discuss
the structure of UA.
The meeting opened with an emotional address from Fairbanks Senator Click Bishop.
“I am sorry,” he said. “This [budget outcome] should have never happened. You met
the call of former governors to double down and meet the workforce needs of the state,
and that’s what you’ve done. This [outcome] is nothing short of a travesty…..and we
are going to turn this around.”
“It is an impossible position that the university is in,” said UA President Jim Johnsen.
“We advocated with passion and reason, and even with the support of legislative leaders,
we came up short. It is incumbent upon us to focus on what is precious to us… our
mission, our students, and our service to the state and to Alaskans.”
According to several legislators who attended the meeting, legislative work in Juneau
is not concluded. Before the special session concludes, the legislature is expected
to introduce and pass an appropriation bill that may include supplemental operating
or capital funds for UA. However, any such funding is subject to veto. The president
is working closely with the governor and legislative leadership for that reason.
Additional discussion will occur at the Board of Regents July 22 meeting. Regents
will reconsider a declaration of financial exigency and a high level plan for meeting
major reductions at its meeting on July 30 as the university moves into its fall semester.
According to the timeline presented to Regents today, specific programmatic reductions
would be proposed to the regents at their September meeting following a period of
input from students, faculty, staff and the public. If approved by the regents during
the September regular meeting, notices to affected faculty and staff would be distributed
this fall, and work would begin to address the teach-out considerations of affected
“We are in this together,” said Johnsen. “Our community advocated for us like never before. By a margin of four-to-one, Alaskans support UA. We have tremendous public support and support from the legislature. “