Dunleavy's failure to lead on clear display with attack on higher education

It was six weeks ago that Gov. Mike Dunleavy displayed his lack of education leadership with his decision to dismantle the University of Alaska by cutting state funding by $131 million.

The decision to gut the university sent a clear message to young people—go to school Outside, because Dunleavy doesn’t want you in Alaska.

He reinforced his failure to lead two weeks later when he said his regime might dismantle the University of Alaska over two years instead of one year. He said this in a one-page master plan that went straight to the recycle bin.

Dunleavy hinted that the cut would be $88 million this year and $38 million next year, but only if the university obeyed him and made cuts to his liking. He claimed later that while the one-pager said he required cuts in certain areas, he didn’t mean it.

The Constitution establishes the UA Board of Regents as the governing authority, but Dunleavy has proven to be a slow learner.

He has placed the university in an impossible position, which has grave implications for the future of our state.

A career government employee, Dunleavy promised as a candidate that he would make no cuts to the university. It was as phony as his pledge to find $200 million by cutting 2,000 imaginary unfilled state jobs.

He ignored months of testimony and a bipartisan decision by the Legislature to support higher education, choosing to cripple the university instead without any analysis.

Lying to voters is not part of the strict legal grounds for the recall—but the pattern of lies has added real grassroots strength to what promises to be an extended campaign to remove him from office.

The Dunleavy attack on education continues, with a barrage of nonsense from TBD Donna Arduin and her assistant, bureaucratic salesman Mike Barnhill. He is the guy who said that the University of Alaska Fairbanks should follow the example of Harvard and find $35 million from new donors in no time at all. No one believes that is possible.

What is possible is that Dunleavy will display his lack of leadership once again this week, disposing of the second attempt by the Alaska Legislature to save the university from him. The Legislature restored most of the vetoed money, which would still leave the UA with a cut of more than $20 million.

If Dunleavy accepts the action of the Legislature, which would be the smart thing to do, that would leave open the question of whether he will save the bulk of his dismantling plan to next year. If he cuts $88 million, as he said a month ago, the university would remain in a death spiral.

The future of the next generation of Alaskans and those who will follow has been placed at risk by the reckless behavior of Gov. Mike Dunleavy—regardless of how he acts on the latest attempt by the Legislature to save the University of Alaska from his regime.


Dermot Cole6 Comments