Regents relent, declare financial exigency - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, October 21, 2019
HomeThe 907Regents relent, declare financial exigency

Regents relent, declare financial exigency

The University of Alaska Board of Regents declared financial exigency on Monday, allowing the university system to more quickly lay off faculty and staff, even those with tenure, if necessary.

The declaration will help the university as it restructures following budget cuts of $135 million in this year’s State budget.

The vote was 10-1, with Regent Lisa Parker of Soldotna the only regent voting against the declaration.

Financial exigency means that the university is in a crisis condition financially, and it must take immediate action. Normal procedures for restructuring, which can get caught in union contracts and internal political disputes, can be set aside.

University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen explained that the restructuring could involved a “new UA,” moving to one university with one accreditation, rather than three universities that have three separate accreditations.

The university could, alternately, spread the $135 million in cuts across all of the campuses and programs using a proportional approach.

Whatever the choice, the university will need to move fast, Johnsen said.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Gee, I wonder what the faculty that are bringing about 100 million dollars in grants will do? I’m sure that team that brings 16 million to one department in Fairbanks will stick around, right?
    .
    I wonder if the university will collect less in tuition?
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    I wonder if people will be less likely to donate to a university that has a “for sale” sign in front of it?
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    I wonder if the downgrade in the bond rating will cost any money?
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    I wonder if all the homes for sale at once will have an impact on the economy?
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    But don’t worry! This will save money! Cuts just do that! Damn the evidence, full speed ahead!

    • Or they can be fiscally responsable and use their existing resources more efficiently. You know like every other person in the state has to.

      • Explain this magic to me. How does one eliminate a department and keep the faculty who are bringing grants?
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        How do you convince a student to give up their life savings and/or go into debt to attend a program that might not exist next year.
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        Clearly, you get that universities are just like individual Alaskans. They seem entirely differently to me — I’m nothing like a university. So tell me how, exactly, you raise tuition monies by offering students less? How you persuade faculty who bring in money to stick around when you make their life hell?
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        Otherwise I’m saying this is magical thinking. The efficiency wand will do it!

  • Not so fast to the Pres J and faculty and staff. The Governor has an opportunity to break up the campuses and turn them into good junior colleges, tech schools and three UA campuses with three presidents or just chancellors. Time to look at how to change the university system from the failure that Johnson created to three winners and additional junior campuses tech schools for the state. Private and public should be a change. All investments need to be analyzed for future change on each campus. Past funding use needs to be a part of the planning and changes for break up of the system as it is. I’m sure that Johnson wants fast and furious to conceal his poor and greedy judgment.

  • Not so fast to the Pres J and faculty and staff. The Governor has an opportunity to break up the campuses and turn them into good junior colleges, tech schools and three UA campuses with three presidents or just chancellors. Time to look at how to change the university system from the failure that Johnson created to three winners and additional junior campuses tech schools for the state. Private and public should be a change. All investments need to be analyzed for future change on each campus. Past funding use needs to be a part of the planning and changes for break up of the system as it is. I’m sure that Johnson wants fast and furious to conceal his poor and greedy judgment.

  • I think the crux of the problem the use of exigency versus emergency. The former may be more precise, but the latter is better understood by voters. You know, voters. The people who are mad about excessive spending on poor results. But do go ahead and keep rearranging the deckchairs.

    • John Davies, Chairman of the Board of Regents, is the power broker running the backdoor deals with Democrats in Juneau…and instigator of the anti-Dunleavy campaign..UA Strong. Davies is a HUGE believer in man-caused climate change and needs more research bucks from the state and feds to keep his climate propoganda afloat.
      .
      Why doesn’t UA just eliminate all of the outreach campuses in the Bush? This is a complete waste, taking UA money and catering to the educational whims of rural residents. Let them come into Anchorage and Fairbanks for their degrees. Eliminating these Bush campuses would probably balance the budget.

      • Chrissy, the rural campuses amount to at most $50 million, the cut is about $136. Besides the governor explicitly directed all the cuts to UAA, UAF, and Statewide.

  • SO ITS OK TO SAVE A FEW UAA JOBS!
    BUT NOT STOP THE STEALING OF EVERY ALASKAN RESIDENT’S $3000 PFD DIVIDEND?
    YOU WACKO LIB DEMOCRATS AND RINOS ARE OUT OF YOUR FREAKIN POT SMOKING MINDS!

    • I wonder if the 1976 voter – who supported the constitutional amendment to create the Permanent Fund (the earnings of which were to go to the general fund to support basic government) – would agree that you are entitled to a 1.2 BILLION dollar ENTITLEMENT? … At the cost of forcing the state’s public higher education system into bankruptcy, reducing aid to homeless programs by 85 % overnight, cutting aid to low income seniors, cutting aid to the pioneer home, etc. Etc. Who is the stone cold-hearted liberal that loves ENTITLEMENTS? You should feel ashamed.

  • WOW, SLOW DOWN THERE JIM. WE WOULDN’T WANT YOU TO STRAIN YOUR BACK MOVING QUICKLY. IF ONLY YOU WOULD HAVE GIVEN A DAMN ABOUT THE TEACHING CERTIFICATE AND THOSE YOUNG ADULTS THAT YOU AND YOUR WORLD CLASS ASSISTANTS SCREWED OVER THROUGH LAZYNESS AND APATHY TOWARDS THEIR CAREER NEEDS.

    JIM, YOU AND YOUR MANAGEMENT
    TEAM HAVE FOOLED A LOT OF FOLKS AS TO YOUR PERCEIVED CONTRIBUTIONS TO ALASKA IN GENERAL. MAKE SURE YOU MOVE QUICKLY BECAUSE IT AFFECTS YOUR PAY CHECKS. WOW, IF ONLY YOU WERE AS CONCERNED AS MUCH ABOUT THOSE TEACHING CERTIFICATIONS AND THE ACCREDITATION. NAH, YOU DID’T CARE BECAUSE IT DID NOT EFFECT YOUR CAREER. A QUALITY LEADER ENSURES THAT ATTENTION TO DETAIL IS THERE TRADEMARK MANAGEMENT SKILL. YOU LACK THAT SKILL THAT MAKES YOU UNFIT TO LEAD. DO THE STUDENTS A FAVOR AND RESIGN. SAVE THE UNIVERSITY AND ALASKA A CHUNK OF MONEY…

    • Clearly, the best way to respond to loss of the accreditation of one program is to threaten to the accreditation of the entire university.
      .
      Would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

    • If he moves fast enough he might make the $75k bonus in his contract and get a new fancy robe and hat.

      • Haven’t seen his contract buy it might have a golden parachute in it — if it does and he goes the governor will have created more government waste.
        .
        So clearly you hate this president — do you have to destroy everything else to get at him? Do you just want to see the university burn?

    • Ok so you hate Jim so much that you’re willing to … force the system into bankruptcy, give Jim and the regents more power than they have ever had, increase the size and scope of UA Statewide permanently? Rebuilding from this debacle will take over a decade. The best students and faculty are leaving and anyone with other options will never come to a university where funding is a rollercoaster and there is no job security. This is a totally THOUGHTLESS and destructive cut.

  • Wonder how much money the college is in debt with building loans, renovations, etc?
    I also wonder how much of the $6.7 billion dollars in pension debt is a direct result from the U of A system?
    Looking at what some of these assistant professors make (like over $90,000 a year) I can see how the system has been a weight on the state budget for years.

    • Get a grip here, Steve! You are sounding jealous that you aren’t getting such a salary and what does that have to do with pension debt?
      Can you possibly really want to know how much of that pension debt is due to UA participation in PERS?? And why do you wonder about it??

  • The Alaska Board of Regents are still living in a fantasy world. If they stall on liquidation, that means they have a lot of extra money they are using to pay their bills. It’s a money shell game they are using until the shells dry up.

    • How true that is, UA is planning to start fall classes as usual. How much money does UA have saved that they can afford this? This sounds like corruption at its best.

      • They have a communist running the Board of Regents. His name is John Davies. He couldn’t beat Ralph Seekins in a state Senate race, but he infuses his political beliefs into the UA system like it’s his own campaign against Governor Dunleavy. Get rid of this POS.

        • Well I don’t know if what you say is true, but it is clear the Wasilla faithful have given John and Jim more power to reshape the University of Alaska than anyone else in history. Thank the ENTITLEMENT loving RINOS for this debacle.

      • Doing things like you suggest — cancelling fall classes would destroy the reputation of the university. This would not only crush the dreams of the students who planned to attend but would also make the degrees of those have already graduated mean less.
        .
        Reputations take years to build and moments to destroy.

        • What reputation? My undergraduate degree is from UAF. “That, and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee,” is what my union dispatcher used to tell me while waiting for a job at Prudhoe Bay. That was 30 years ago, when you had to work your ass off to get a BA or BS. Now, coffee costs five bucks a cup and a UAF degree won’t get you a decent job to pay for it. I need the $3K. Dunleavy are you listening. Stay Strong!

          • WHAT? 5 bucks for coffee? I seen commie John Davies st UAF coffee shop and he was getting FREE coffee because he was wearing his UA Strong button. His degree in climate change is paying off for himself and all of his commie friends. He can stay loaded on caffeine, and whatever else he prescribes himself to, while cracking the whip on his team of donkeys. THAT’s the reputation for a degree at UAF.

  • It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

  • I find it amazing how Jim Johnsen operates. He acts like all of this is a surprise. He obviously is not a leader. If he had been tracking the bloat of this system he would have known. If he had been paying attention to their funding sources, he would have known. If he had been listening to the Governor even during his campaign, he would have known this was on the horizon. But what did Jim do? Nothing. So his reaction is cut your head off if you have a zit on your face. The drama is nauseating.
    .
    He could be leading this university into the next decade with a new, positive, fresh approach. He could have a plan to reinvigorate the university with an ambitious proposal. But no, he puts all his eggs into the basket of spreading the narrative that this cut will ruin the lives of everyone rather than a strategy of hope.

    • Sure leading into the future with a cut that every Dunleavy regent agreed was too extreme and forced exigency. Jim had a reasonable hope that OMB Donna from Michigan would have respected the bipartisan work of the legislature in proposing a realistic cut to the university budget. But she doesn’t care about destroying public higher education in Alaska and apparently neither does Dunleavy.

    • Oh and listening to the Governor during the campaign when he said on at least two occasions that he had no plans to cut University funding. Don’t try to claim Dunleavy ran on this madness. Why are two of his biggest campaign contributors publically stating that they have much more than a bad case of buyers remorse?

  • UA president Jim Johnson is a stooge and a patsy for John Davies. Davies runs the show at UA. He can be seen at all the Lefty coffee shops in town, lobbying his fellow Democrats on how to vote.
    Davies ran the FNSB when Luke Hopkins was mayor. The Lefty King controlling the dunce. Now, Hopkins kid is in the State House and taking his orders from Davies. Dunce apples fall close to the dunce tree.

    • Ok and following your logic… Governor Dunleavy is a “stooge” (your words) and a “patsy” for DONNA from Michigan. Donna runs the show in Juneau. She can be seen scheming behind the scenes and the Governor can be seen cowering behind her, hanging his head, at press conferences. The far right Queen, even condemned by Walter Williams, is controlling the”dunce” (your words not mine).

      • El, if you think Donna is the prime mover for chopping the UA budget, you aren’t too bright. Dunleavy’s people brought her in to crunch numbers and to perform accounting speak. The concept of pulling the grizzle and fat from the UA comes from others. You want names?

  • Let’s hope Dunleavy has both of them investigated as to what they did with state and federal money. Johnson makes 450K a year and got over a million dollars in perks on your generosity that you didn’t even know about. I wonder what Sing Sing Prison looks like for a president and faculty of UA.

    • A 450k salary plus a “million” in “perks” – like the private jet and the lucrative private prison contracts. Great let’s cut him loose. Now for 134.5 million more in cuts? This is the logic that leads to devestating military cuts because an idiot ordered $500 toilet seats.

  • Can someone who’s had a kid in the UA system explain something to me? What has happened to their tuition costs in the last 20 years?

    I did have a kid in the Arizona system in the early 2Ks. During that time, I watched tuitions triple plus a bit, much of that over the 5 year span I was paying for. Of course, this was while the big thing was pushing big loans on the students or parents. I didn’t borrow, but near the end of one undergrad degree, my savings were completely wiped. Meanwhile, I watched ASU transform into a Taj Mahal of sorts, all on the backs of parents and kids.

    (Of course, when the banking crisis hit, it was argued that the state simply MUST KEEP two research grade universities in a 3 school system, you know. Because We Must Remain Competitive, or something..)

    Did the AK system undergo the same tuition inflation during that period?

    • I don’t know about UA tuition but nationally there is no doubt student loans are financial crack. Just like subprime mortgages were. Giving students loans with zero consideration that the proceeds will be spent to get a degree that will result in sufficient earnings to repay the loan is no different than not underwriting home mortgages. Worse, the availability of easy money allowed institutions to increase the cost of tuition. Everything Democrats run is a disaster.

      • ……dunces can take roots nearby too. Take for instance, Adam Wool, who sits in the House with Hopkin’s kid and also takes marching orders from John Davies. Wool, who got people drunk for a living, is another Left wing radical. Thompson and LeBon, both fringe Republicans, are completely and hopelessly lost. Thompson would rather be spending time at the local bar, and LeBon got his UAF degree courtesy of a basketball scholarship. Both will lose their seats in 2020.

        • I don’t know if Adam is a Left wing radical” but I appreciate his thoughtful posts. I also appreciate that he doesn’t degrade reasonable discussion with ad hominims.

          • Wool is no independent thinker, El. He and Hopkin’s kid jump at Davie’s command.

  • AND THE DC SCUMBAGS THAT BROKE THE LAW TO ATTACK SEN TED STEVENS IN 2008 WILL BE TESTIFYING ABOUT HOW THEY TRIED TO DO THE SAME TO PRESIDENT TRUMP BUT FAILED BECAUSE TRUMP IS TOO STRONG AND SMART FOR THEM!
    MAGA!

  • Cut the admin staff 75%. Then cut the extras 100%. Then raise tuition 50% Then teach solid classes with better graduation rates that a 3rd world country. Thats a start.

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