Friday, June 28, 20019

The governor’s veto of the University of Alaska’s budget is a disappointment to say the least. While it is difficult to see how a budget cut of over $134 million will benefit future generations of Alaskans, there are two actions we can take immediately.

The first is to advocate for a veto override. The people of Alaska, speaking through their legislators, said loud and clear that a major cut to the university is not their preference. The legislators added $130 million back to the university budget from the governor’s original $134 million cut. Our legislators now have the opportunity to support the university’s budget and Alaska’s future once again. Use your voice to support theirs and ours in the coming days and weeks. You will find contact information for legislators and other useful advocacy materials here. One important note: A veto override would return the budget to the Legislature’s funding level that is $5 million lower than our current budget. There is nothing in between.

The second action we should take is to step back from today’s news. While the veto was always a possibility, I think it still came as a surprise to many. Please remember to take care of yourself and those around you as we grapple with the work before us. If you need to talk to someone, employees can call UA’s assistance hotline at 1-888-993-7650 and have your call answered by a licensed clinician at any time.

President Johnsen wrote in his email this afternoon that furlough notices will be issued to staff. It is only a notice of furlough that was announced. A furlough takes effect 60 days from the notice. It is also unlikely that there would be a furlough if a veto override is successful. Furthermore, furloughs normally are not continuous in nature, but rather a requirement to take a certain number of furlough days over a certain time period. You can find answers to frequently asked questions about the operating budget, financial exigency, furloughs and layoffs online, and we will work to keep you informed as the situation changes.

Please be thoughtful and understanding of your colleagues. Everyone handles adversity in their own way. Now more than ever, exhibit compassion and patience. We have much work to do, and we need to do it together. Assuming that an override is successful, it will be all hands on deck to move this great university forward!

Thank you.

— Dan White, chancellor
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