Board of Regents at U. Alaska Vote to Declare Financial Exigency
“It’s hard for me to contemplate the path we may have to go down”
Massive cuts to the school system’s budget are making shock waves in the state.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:
University of Alaska Regents Vote to Declare Financial Exigency
The University of Alaska’s Board of Regents declared financial exigency on Monday, calling it a sad but necessary step given the budget crisis created by a 41-percent cut in the university’s budget from the state.
The vote was 10 to 1 in favor of the declaration, which system leaders said was needed to allow the system to downsize rapidly. That could include closing programs and laying off tenured faculty members.
“It’s hard for me to contemplate the path we may have to go down,” said John Davies, the board’s chairman. “But we do have a fiduciary responsibility to be sure the institution survives. Unfortunately, I think we’re grappling with survival.”
Members who said they were voting reluctantly in favor of the motion pointed out that it was a tool, not a plan for making cuts, and that it could be modified, restricted, or withdrawn if lawmakers restored at least some of the budget.
“I’d celebrate to the stars if things got reversed, but I don’t think it’s likely,” Davies said.
If the university does nothing, it will run out of state money by February, some of the regents pointed out. The cuts affect the 2020 fiscal year, which started on July 1.
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17% loss in the budget. Give me 10 minutes, I can fix it. A whole lot of useless administrators would disappear, along with a few programs. (You can see why the Administrators are declaring an emergency.)
In looking over the UAA Academic Programs, they are heavily weighted towards the vocational. No “women’s studies” or any of that crap. They have a big aviation-related school where they teach Air Traffic Control and Aircraft and Engine Maintence, as well as Airport Management. I would really hate to see all of that cut. Does anyone know why the legislature took the axe to the school?
Suggestion: if it’s not directly related to teaching/research get rid of it. If necessary, that includes sports. Strip away all the fluff and focus the budget on the core mission.
Unlike the University of Maryland which sent out a memo that they will be shutting down the campus at noon on a Friday this Fall because they are required by the Big-10 to have a Friday night game and they need the parking lots cleared so that they can be reopened by 3PM for tailgating. Now there is a school with its priorities in order. As one professor put it, “we hope to be the college that our football team can be proud of.”
Reasons for the 17% cut, as best I can tell:
Alaska spends roughly twice the U.S. average per student in the UA system,
Duplication of systems with 3 separate universities, each competing with students for the same programs,
very top heavy with administrators.
Suzanne Downing has a good page http://mustreadalaska.com/restoring-lavish-university-salaries-with-alaskans-pfds/
As a side note for why the university might be unpopular; when I went there, on orientation day, the liberal students and some staff had protests at each entrance to the university, in effect, telling new students that republicans were not welcome.