July 25, 2019

To the UAF community:

On Tuesday, July 23, I released a
budget communication reporting on Monday’s Board of Regents meeting and President Johnsen’s request to chancellors to prepare a plan that reached a “pro rata” unrestricted general fund, or UGF, reduction. As requested, I submitted UAF’s proposal (PDF) to the president at 5 p.m. today. The pro rata reduction is pursuant to the second option of the three presented to the BOR to manage the budget across the system. (The options begin on page 11 of this PDF.)

A pro rata reduction means that UAF’s budget would be reduced in proportion to the funding distribution last year. For a $136 million reduction to unrestricted general funds, our share would be $68 million.

A UGF reduction of this size, or even half this size, would have major impacts across UAF and the communities we serve, and would significantly impact the future of Alaskans. Since we have not had an opportunity to have a community conversation about potential cuts, I have only listed areas where we would look for reductions. Although these numbers have some thinking behind them, they do not definitively target specific programs or specific restructuring options. That needs input from you, the UAF community.

The Legislature is still working through supplemental funding that could provide additional funding to the university. While we cannot count on this, it is possible that it could alleviate some of the draconian cuts. As a portion of the $68 million, we also have included monetization of some facilities and land as well as conservative use of remaining strategic reserves. Obviously, if the Legislature is able to come up with funding that the governor supported, our path forward could look different.

UAF Faculty Senate leaders and I met yesterday and discussed, among many things, the president’s request. They, along with the other governance groups, are hosting another roundtable discussion on the budget Friday, July 26, from 4-5 p.m. in the Wood Center ballroom. We continue this summer to have Chancellor’s Cabinet meetings that include faculty, staff and student governance leaders. Their participation has been very important to well-informed discussion.

I appreciate that this exercise is a challenging one that none of us welcome. Until we have different information, however, it is our task at hand. We will continue to use our
strategic goals as guidance and to engage the good counsel of the provost, vice chancellors, deans, directors and governance leaders moving forward. While what we have are just targets now, we will develop a plan for a conversation on specifics next week after Tuesday’s BOR meeting.

— Dan White, chancellor
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