Dunleavy's attack on higher education—a monumental failure of leadership

The Dunleavy attack on higher education, if not overturned by the Alaska Legislature, will do permanent damage to Alaska.

That’s clear to most Alaska leaders, but there are radicals in the Legislature who may side with the reckless Dunleavy plan to cut 41 percent of state funding to Alaska’s university. The governor did this three days before the fiscal year began, a “sudden, untenable and devastating reduction,” the university said.

The action by Gov. Mike Dunleavy is indefensible. It is a monumental failure of leadership.

The university summed up the impact this way:

•Vetoes strike an institutional and reputational blow from which UA may likely never recover.

•Cripples one of Alaska’s most important tools for economic growth and diversity – just when we need both.

•Impacts the ability of employers to hire skilled graduates – harming Alaska’s economic potential.

•Every university and campus will be impacted, and will likely result in the need to shutter some community campuses outright.

•Impacts every student and program in the state and calls into question UA’s ability to fulfill its constitutional mission.

•State’s annual investment is critical – allows UA to go get the other 60% of its budget.

•A $135 million UGF cut will actually create a $200 million revenue hole when the impacts on all non-state revenue sources are factored in: i.e. enrollment declines, tuition & fee revenue losses, research, federal and private giving.

•UA estimates a related loss of $45 million (-37%) in federal funds

Dermot Cole1 Comment