Randolph doesn't belong on University of Alaska Board of Regents

UPDATE: Tammy Randolph resigned her appointment to the University of Alaska Board of Regents Wednesday, the Daily News-Miner reported, saying she did not want to create a distraction for the university.


ORIGINAL COLUMN: State Farm agent Tammy Randolph was not reluctant to share her inflammatory political views on Twitter.

But that changed after they drew public attention with her nomination to the University of Alaska Board of Regents by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

The Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday that when it first questioned Randolph about her Twitter account she denied that it was hers. Only later did she accept responsibility.

She made these comments. Trust in government—which Gov. Mike Dunleavy says is a priority—starts with telling the truth.

Her public comments will be a factor in her fight for confirmation by the Alaska Legislature, as will her later statements apologizing for what she said.

The lack of vetting by the Dunleavy administration of its appointees, obvious in the debacle last week with John Quick and Art Chance, strikes again.

Randolph told the Daily News-Miner Monday, “What I have come to understand in the past few days is that words do matter and that mine were unnecessary.”

It’s not the belated discovery that “words do matter” or the conclusion that these were “unnecessary.”

Her words reflect a profound misunderstanding of the nature of sexual harassment and the management crisis the University of Alaska has faced over the last four years.

Randolph often tweeted about her disdain for the Obamas, the Clintons, other Democrats and sexual harassment.

“That high horse Michelle is on makes her ass look big,” she Tweeted on Nov. 13 last year.

About former President Barack Obama, she said he is a “liar” and a “fraud clown.”

“@BarackObama. Kindly F*CK OFF,” she wrote Nov. 20.

During the Brett Kavanaugh nomination fight, she attacked Sen. Lisa Murkowski as “gutless and weak” for opposing Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court. “You posturing with a parade of rape victims is nothing relevant,” Randolph tweeted Oct. 5 toward Murkowski. “Get your shit together.”

This is callousness, not entertainment.

In connection with Kavanaugh, she retweeted a meme of Johnnie Cochran, a takeoff on his glove line at the O.J. Simpson trial, “If there was no sperm, you must confirm.”

Randolph tweeted that “the adults in the room will get this.”

As adults should know, the presence or absence of sperm is not the standard in sexual harassment cases.

A reader called my attention to Randolph’s Twitter feed the day she was nominated to the regents, speculating that it would disappear as soon as the governor’s office found it. I took screen shots of many items she posted publicly and later the account disappeared.

Randolph is a State Farm Insurance agent in North Pole and a daughter-in-law of Dick Randolph, a Fairbanks State Farm insurance agent who is a “constitutional advisor” to Dunleavy.

The Daily News-Miner and the Anchorage Daily News quoted Randolph as apologizing for what she said on Twitter. She didn’t intend for any of it to be taken seriously, she said.

On a group of unflattering pictures of Michelle Obama headlined, “Just a reminder of how bad it was,” Randolph tweeted, “Well, she’s a he, so….”

The ADN quoted her as saying that post was: “Total entertainment. I just didn’t like her fashion sense, so I was equating it to the fact, well, most guys don’t have fashion sense. . . . That was all it was. It wasn’t meant for anybody. It wasn’t meant to offend. It wasn’t racist. It wasn’t homophobic. I’m not any of those things. It wasn’t anything other than I found it amusing, that’s all.”

It’s not that every regent has to share the same sense of humor or the same political philosophy. They never do.

But every regent must show an understanding of the complex dynamics of the institution, its history, its challenges and the wide range of Alaskans the regents are called upon to serve.

This is one of the most important boards in Alaska.

Randolph told the News-Miner last week that “I support the university, but to what degree I don’t know yet."

I want regents who already know to what degree they support the university and how to improve it.

The university has been struggling because of a history of mismanagement of sexual harassment cases.

The regents and top university officials have committed to solving this problem, but Randolph’s record of public comments would make it worse. She doesn’t belong on the UA Board of Regents.

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Dermot Cole11 Comments