Dunleavy needs to appear before UA Board of Regents to explain dismantling plan for the university

Gov. Mike Dunleavy now claims he wants a “multi-year” dismantling of the University of Alaska, not the immediate dismantling he called for on June 28 through his reckless veto, which has already done great damage to one of Alaska’s most vital institutions.

The Dunleavy plan for Alaska’s young people is to encourage them to go Outside, never to return.

His new plan is the same as his old plan. He is telling faculty, staff and students to head for the exits as soon as possible.

As KTUU reported, “He said his office would be presenting ways to spread out the impacts over time to the university president and Board of Regents on Tuesday.”

His office delivered a two-year spreadsheet, according to a UA spokeswoman.

“If we do things the right way, we might be able to get better outcomes in systems such as the university,” said Dunleavy, who has repeated that bit of rubbish dozens of times without ever backing it up.

“We are working with the University of Alaska, as I mentioned, to come up with a plan, a step-down approach, that would not be done in one year, but over multiple years,” the Anchorage Daily News quoted Dunleavy as saying Thursday. “We’re making some attempts to soften the blow of these reductions for Alaskans.”

It is obvious that Dunleavy is feeling the heat and trying to soften the opposition with doubletalk.

He didn’t see the need for a multi-year plan a month ago when he cut $130 million. His office claimed, “This line item veto impacts primarily the Anchorage and Fairbanks universities. Funding for all of the community campuses, including University of Alaska Southeast, remains intact.”

The latter statement is false, as there are millions in centralized expenses that escaped his notice.

At this crucial moment, Dunleavy needs to show up and make his case to the regents, instead of having temporary budget director Donna Arduin or policy director Mike Barnhill speak for him.

This is no time for a Dunleavy surrogate to make lame excuses for a man who isn’t there.

No one elected Arduin or Barnhill. Arduin is a temporary employee, while Barnhill is a longtime state employee who has led the attack on the University of Alaska.

I suspect the alleged new plan for the university will be a warmed-over version of the nonsense Barnhill gave to legislators earlier this year. I wrote about Barnhill’s distorted claims on Feb. 19 and again on March 16, March 17 and March 18.

The only thing Barnhill should deliver to the regents is an apology. They won’t get one, but the university must prepare a detailed response to get close to the truth about UA finances.

In particular, Barnhill didn’t account for the value of research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Dunleavy, who ran for office promising to make no cuts to the University of Alaska, should see the regents meeting as a chance to talk about the future of education in Alaska, instead of continuing to repeat mindless and meaningless catchphrases. That would be the best outcome.


Dermot Cole4 Comments