UA Regents schedule meeting to discuss Senate’s approved cuts

(Creative Commons photo by Jimmy Emerson)
University of Alaska Fairbanks (Creative Commons photo by Jimmy Emerson)

The University Of Alaska Board Of Regents is holding a special meeting Thursday in Fairbanks to discuss contingency plans in light of State Senate approved budget cuts. Last week the Senate passed a budget that cuts $22 million from the $325 million in UA funding supported by the House and Governor Bill Walker.

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”In the event that a number comes from the legislature that is less than that, the University needs to be prepared for those cuts,” UA spokeswoman Roberta Graham said.

Graham said Regents anticipated the Senate reducing the level of funding, but not by $22 million. She said UA President Jim Johnsen is talking about additional budget options with campus chancellors.

”What they think would be likely cuts on those campuses,” Graham said. “And those will be options that come forward to the regents.”

President Johnsen last week called the Senate cut “devastating”, while noting that the UA budget has already been reduced by $53 million over the past three years, and that UA is in the process of downsizing, but needs time to carry out a plan to reduce reliance on state funds by 2025.

Graham said there’s also concern about a lack of capital funding for UA, noting a $1 billion backlog in deferred maintenance. The UA Regents meeting is scheduled for Thursday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Butrvich Building, and will be live streamed.