July 15, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2019
Regents postpone vote on declaration of exigency to July 30
FAIRBANKS -- 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 students.
“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. “
For more information, contact Roberta Graham, associate vice president of public affairs at 907-360-2416 (cell).