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Parnell addresses funding for maintenance

November 13, 2009

Last month, the University of Alaska Board of Regents met in Fairbanks to hash out their budget. At the end of the one-day meeting, they had agreed to budget for a student wage increase, but weren’t ready to pass an overall budget for the next fiscal year. One priority in the tentative budget, however, was $50 million for deferred maintenance. That number is no where near the full amount of backlogged maintenance at Alaska’s universities, but it would have put a dent into the queued up work orders.

Yesterday, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell proposed putting $100 million into deferred maintenance throughout the state. About $37 million of that line in the capital budget would go to the University of Alaska. While the number is lower than the Regents were planning to request, it is higher than the state has allocated in recent years. The Fairbanks Daily News -Miner reported yesterday that the average allocation for deferred maintenance for the last ten years has been around $16 million. Parnell’s proposed funding level is well above that, and a set amount, which should make the budget process easier.

Neither Parnell or the Regents have the full say in the University’s budget. The state legislature has to pass the budget as part of their duties each winter, and they may well change the funding level. But Parnell’s message yesterday gives the Regents a starting place in what to expect from the state this year.


Rogers fields questions about bookstore, sidewalks and other campus issues

November 10, 2009

More than a couple dozen people gathered in the Wood Center Multi-level lounge this afternoon to ask UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers about a variety of issues. Questions (during the first half, anyway) touched on sustainability (and the green fee), the bookstore, Rogers’ “people first” initiative (mentioned in his 2008 convocation), and sidewalk safety.

Rogers said he really is working on the bookstore issue (and he knows that the current system doesn’t work). Some changes will be made by January, and more by next September, he said. In the meantime, Follet (the people who run the online bookstore) is coming to visit at the end of this week. An open session for students is scheduled for Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the Wood Center, with a session for faculty and staff set for 1:30 p.m. The representatives will also be visiting with the Faculty Senate at 11 a.m. on Thursday, and hosting a meeting at 3:30 that afternoon at the Tanana Valley Campus.


An early question at the forum was about Rogers’ plans to put people first. Rogers said it is still in the works. Some of the areas where strides have been made are in supervisor training and the addition of some free parking in the summer to encourage the Fairbanks community to visit UAF. And other issues – like faculty promotion – are still being worked on, he said.

ASUAF President Adrian Triebel also asked Rogers about the student-initiated “green fee,” which will go into affect next semester. Rogers said that he was working with the sustainability director hired by ASUAF (and others) to hammer out details, but that some of the ideas for spending the money include a competitive grant for students to submit project ideas, creating student jobs to help with energy conservation and other arenas, and others. He’s still planning to match the funds students are contributing.

The forum was a chance for the campus community to check-in with Rogers about the status of various efforts at UAF. Before he opened the floor for questions, he said that if he didn’t have an answer, he would definitely try to find one. And when someone asked about a couple icy patches around campus twenty minutes later, he asked the audience for help answering the question. Linda Zanazzo stood up and said that sidewalks were planned, but not yet funded.

Gonorrhea just a joke

November 9, 2009

According to my source at The Sun Star (Citizen Sig), who contacted an ASUAF senator about the line in the minutes mentioning a gonorrhea outbreak in the dorms, the comment was made in jest.

The next line, however, wasn’t a joke. ASUAF really is giving out free condoms. Hopefully that will prevent an outbreak from getting started.

Purpose and election dates and gonorrhea, oh my!

November 8, 2009

UAF’s student senate meets today at 4 p.m. in the Alumni Lounge.

According to the agenda, they’ll be reading (for the first time) a bill reminding themselves of their purpose. Purpose is great, but I doubt that the meeting will be as exciting as it was last week. According to the minutes, they¬†considered moving the fall elections from November to December, but a motion to do so failed. And in “other business” a senator mentioned that there’s been a gonorrhea outbreak in the dorms. No other details were provided on that issue.

Presidential Search Update

November 7, 2009

An earlier post mentioned the draft profile for president’s job. At that time, ideas were solicited to make the profile as representative of the job as possible.

Thursday, a final draft was posted online, along with a new message detailing a rough timeline. Cynthia Henry, the chair for both the search committee and the board, authored that message.

According to Henry, advertising for the position starts Monday. She said the job will advertised in numerous publications and in direct mailings to various institutions. A few months will be spent soliciting and screening candidates, and finalist interviews are tentatively set for sometime after the end of January (2010).

What’s this blog been sayin’?

November 7, 2009

Inspired by a¬†classmate, here’s a wordle of what’s been happening on this blog.

Wordle - UAPolicy

Are there issues you’d like to see more posts about? University news that you can’t find and want to see covered?

Regents approve fifty-cent hop in student wages

November 3, 2009

After months of hearing students argue for a pay raise, the University of Alaska Board of Regents acquiesced to their request last week. Starting in January, students will make an extra fifty cents. ASUAF’s Todd Vorisek shares some background behind ASUAF’s efforts to lobby for the increase.