UA Regents terminate financial exigency declaration
The University of Alaska Board of Regents voted unanimously Tuesday to terminate the July 22 declaration of financial exigency.
The original declaration, approved just over a month prior, allowed administrators to bypass usual procedures for laying off personnel and eliminating programs, but University President Jim Johnsen said no such action was taken.
On June 28, the governor announced an unprecedented $135 million state funding cut to the university system.
Since then the governor set an agreement with the UA Board of Regents to spread $70 million in budget cuts across three years rather than $135 million in a single year.
“We’ve been given the luxury of a three year glide path and a reduced target of $70 million dollars in state funds, but remember, it is a $70 million dollar reduction and I don’t want us to be lulled into an assumption that all is well because this year’s cut is only $25 million,” Regent Dale Anderson said. “I don’t think we can assume that a declaration of exigency is totally off the table in our future if it means using a declaration to save our institution.”
Johnsen says steps outside of financial exigency are currently being taken to address the reduced budget.
“We have already not rehired a large number of adjunct faculty across the university system, we have let term faculty go, we have redesigned our human resources organization and we are planning at present a consolidation of our development staff and also information technology,” Johnsen said.
Opportunities to monetize facilities are also being explored, according to Johnsen.
Regent Karen Purdue expressed her concern that the board still doesn’t know what $70 million in reductions looks like and says financial exigency is meant for the direst situation.
“In some ways the lifting of exigency requires us to be even more rigorous in our approach to looking at a new university because we don’t have the luxury of time even though it might seem as though we do, but we will treat our employees fairly and we will honor our contracts,” Purdue said.
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