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.