Author: Keldon Irwin

May 1, 2013 Keldon Irwin

Every few years UAA says farewell to decent staff and faculty who have dedicated numerous years of service the the university. The Northern Light sat down with three professors, Robin Crittenden, Robert Crosman, and red bradley, to see what they will leave behind and what their aspirations for the future are.

May 1, 2013 Keldon Irwin

At the April 26 USUAA student government meeting, president Alejandra Buitrago swore in president elect Andrew Lessig. Lessig then swore in vice president elect Drew Lemish. Lessig and Lemish swore in two new senators, chemistry major John Paoletti and Jackie Odena.

Bree Villar, UAA student and health education coordinator with the American Lung Association joined fellow student Valeria Delgado and Gabriel Garcia, assistant professor of public health, to speak to USUAA about the current smoking standards on campus and potential future amendments.

April 23, 2013 Keldon Irwin
The Tanaina Childhood Development Center is slated to be relocated, according to the current UAA Master Plan.  (Photo by Tim Brown)
The Tanaina Childhood Development Center is slated to be relocated, according to the current UAA Master Plan. (Photo by Tim Brown)

The Tanaina Childhood Development Center has been a part of the UAA com­munity since 1979.

Tanaina board president Charlie Tyr­rell said Tanaina is a non-profit organiza­tion that functions entirely independently from UAA, excluding the university sub­sidizing their rent, electricity, water and a few other services.

They currently serve up to 60 students during the academic year, caring for chil­dren between 18 months and five-years old, yet their wait list has over 100 names on it.

They increase their roster to over 80 children during the summer.

Executive Director Helen Coe and Tyrrell would both like to see the institu­tion serve over 100 students.

Considering the influences of the ten­tative UAA Master Plan and the future development of the Wells Fargo Sports Complex, Tanaina administration and board members are unsure of the non-profit’s future.

This is primarily because Tanaina is located downstairs in the Student Union, just below the indoor entrance to the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.

Coe expressed concern regarding the future of the center, because its location is set to be moved soon according to the UAA Master Plan.

Members of the Tanaina staff and board are also concerned about the near future of the center because the proposed sports complex renovations might pose a danger for the children of Tanaina.

According to Tyrrell, the future loca­tion of the center is undecided.

Tyrrell said both Chancellor Tom Case and Vice Chancellor William “Bill” Spin­dle have looked him in the eye and said they support Tanaina’s partnership with UAA, so he is not concerned.

When asked when the renovation may happen, Spindle said the university does not currently have the funds to remodel the complex.

However, he said he will support Tanaina through a Wells Fargo renova­tion.

“We would like to see them reach a new level,” Spindle said.

He then said he would like to see Tanaina working more with early child­hood education courses on campus allow­ing more internship and job opportunities for students who are pursuing a degree in that field.

According to the most recent UAA Master Plan Coe provided for the center, dated March 28, 2012, the new facilities are large enough to permit an additional 24 toddlers.

“It is tragic when a UAA student can’t finish a semester because of childcare,” Tyrrell said.

Coe said she would like to be able to pay teachers better, because the institu­tion does not pay competitively in com­parison to other daycares in town.

While they do offer teachers partially subsidized tuition, they are not given any benefits.

She said she has had people turn down teaching jobs at Tanaina because the pay is not competitive.

Tyrrell and Coe both said increased student capacity could create possibilities for better compensation.

Coe said the current facilities do not allow for accreditations that could greatly benefit Tanaina.

She hopes the new facility will allow for these requirements to be met.

She would also like to be able to offer teachers $15-20 an hour to stay competi­tive with job market wages.

An increased budget would also allow for more teachers with bachelor’s degrees.

Tyrrell and board vice president Jen­nifer Meyer will be re-initiating the rela­tionship between Tanaina and USUAA, UAA student government, next semester.

They also plan to request scholarships for exceptional UAA students’ childcare.

April 9, 2013 Keldon Irwin

At the Feb. 21 and 22 Board of Regents meeting, more than 10 people testified on behalf of making UAA a smoke-free campus. Pre-med student Shana Kim also spoke in favor of making UAA a smoke-free campus.

The students’ goal, informally presented by Gabriel Garcia, assistant professor of public health, is to get 1,000 signatures per semester until the campus is smoke-free. Garcia said he will not stop his efforts until UAA is entirely smoke-free.

At the recent Board of regents meeting in Anchorage, about 300 students signed a petition in favor of a smoke-free campus. In the last five weeks, the group has gotten nearly 100 more signatures.

“There are no safe levels, nor safe distance,” Garcia said, explaining his feelings on secondhand smoke.

While there is no official plan drafted for a smoke-free campus, according to Kim, the transition will likely be broken up into a two-part plan if it is ever approved. She explained that she would first like to see the campus be smoke-free, then tobacco-free.

If passed, the ban may allow students to smoke in their parked vehicles on campus.

Kim said the group’s next step is to work with any USUAA senators who are willing to endorse the proposition, in addition to increasing student involvement via petitions and polls. She would like to collaborate with USUAA senators to move toward becoming UAA a smoke-free campus by the end of the semester.

Kim and Garcia both emphasize the impression smoking makes on children on campus and the right of the non-smoker to breathe clean air to support their cause.

Kim said secondhand smoke personally bothers her and causes lung cancer, which both contribute to her personal support of the ban. She also does not feel the current smoking policy accurately reflect the interests of students, staff and faculty.

She would like to see a smoke-free UAA by 2015.

According to Kim, the group is currently researching smoking policies at other universities.

“It’s a behavioral and cultural thing we’re trying to influence,” Garcia said.

Performing arts sophomore Leo Crowley smokes often on campus and strongly opposes the ban. As a compromise, he suggested distanced designated smoking areas.

“That’d be whack,” Crowley said after hearing the details of the proposed ban.

Nursing junior Erica Dittmar said she partially supports the ban. She said she quit smoking and doesn’t prefer walking by people while they smoke.

She said she would support the ban in an ideal world, but she suggested more ashtrays and enforced designated smoking areas as a compromise.

Kristen Krain-Robinson, justice senior and student worker at the Consortium Library, supports the smoking ban. She said cigarette butts were found in the library stairwell three to four times last year. Loose tobacco and marijuana were also found on a table over winter break.

Despite these incidents, she said none have occurred since the spring semester started.

There will soon be posters to advertise the motion to make UAA a smoke-free campus and more efforts may be seen in the future, Kim said.

 

April 3, 2013 Keldon Irwin

The University Police Department issued an email and automated phone message Emergency Alert Update March 28 stating, “A felony assault occurred today off-campus. It is possible that one or both of the suspects involved may be coming to the UAA campus. The suspects were last seen in a dark blue or purple colored jeep … both suspects were armed with handguns.”

It also stated that a car model and license plate number were not known.

They then issued an update soon after saying there is no immediate threat for students on campus.

According to UPD Chief Rick Shell, some people on campus perceived the first alert as an immediate threat. He said it caused mass confusion and near panic on campus.

The second alert was issued to assure students there was no immediate threat on campus. Shell also said the first message was issued to comply with federal Clery laws, a federal ruling that colleges and universities must disclose crime activity in and nearby campus.

Shell said police officers locked UAA on-campus student Omar Luis Ducasse Jr. out of his room and interviewed several of his neighbors. As of Friday, no one reported Ducasse has or will come back to campus.

Residence Hall Association representative and residential adviser Laura Nebeck said all resident assistants are trained during fall and spring semesters for situations such as this. A keycard is necessary to get into residential buildings. Beyond that, a numerical keypad locks every individual room.

Both alleged felons, Omar Luis Ducasse Jr. and Benjamin Zeckovic, are still at large as of Monday

UPD has asked anyone with any information to call University Police at 907-786-1120.

March 22, 2013 Keldon Irwin

PUBLIC TESTIMONY

POTENTIAL SMOKE FREE UAA

During the Feb. 21 and 22 Board of Regents meetings, more than 10 people testified on behalf
of making UAA a smoke-free campus. Shana Kim, pre-med student at UAA said she spoke in
favor of making UAA the first smoke-free campus in Alaska. However, Dana Diehl, disparities
coordinator with Alaska Tobacco Prevention and Control, said Alaska Christian College and
Wayland Baptist University are already smoke-free campuses.

About 300 students, along with help from the American Lung Association, signed a petition to
make UAA a smoke-free campus. The petition was presented to the board at the meeting.

Kim said about 15 percent of UAA students smoke, and they do so directly by entryways, which
jeopardizes the health of everyone on campus.

Jaeyeon “Jenny” Cho, UAA student, accompanied Kim in support of a smoke-free UAA campus.

Gabriel Garcia, UAA public health professor, also spoke in favor of a smoke-free campus. He
said he is mentoring students who are attempting to rid the campus of tobacco smoking.

“Everybody has a right to clean air,” Garcia said.

He would like to see all campuses within the UA system be smoke-free.

Garcia also said most smokers want to quit, so this measure can introduce the culture of non-
smoking and help influence them to stop their unhealthy habit.

When asked if he would personally compromise with a designated smoking area away from
main pedestrian paths, he said no because smoke would still travel and affects people at UAA.

Valeria Delgado, biology freshman, also spoke to the BOR in favor of a smoke-free campus. She
also urged that 75 percent of those who smoke want to quit.

She also voiced her concern for the safety children on campus and said there would be a
substantial amount of money saved because cigarette butts would not be as plentiful on
campus.

Delgado said she commonly inhales secondhand smoke when waiting for the Seawolf shuttle.
She also smells smoke inside buildings because people smoke right near the entryways.

When asked how she feels about the rights of the 15 percent of people who do smoke on
campus, she said the other 85 percent have the right to breathe clean air.

However, she did say she feels it should be okay to smoke outside of dorms as long as smokers
are a reasonable distance from the building.

She said she would compromise with a designated smoking area away from main pedestrian
paths.

Brianne Villar, health educator with the American Lung Association and UAA graduate student,
also spoke in favor of a smoke-free campus. She said it would greatly minimize the cost of
healthcare for students and staff, and reduce litter on campus.

Both Villar and Diehl said Penn State established their costs to be over $100,000 annually to
pick up cigarette butts alone.

These students have the support of several groups, including the American Cancer Society and
the American Lung Association.

Only one person showed up opposing the measure to ban smoking at UAA.

Michelle Rizk, Interim Chief Human Resources Officer, suggested the group seek faculty,
staff, and management support, particularly from the Joint Health Care Committee. She also
suggested they seek the opinions of non-smokers to ensure they are presenting a holistic
measure.

BOR President Gamble said many non-smokers may not support such a drastic measure.
Offering insight and solutions for Kim to further advance the non-smoking agenda, he
suggested she conduct more research, continue to attend community and university meetings,
gauge the thoughts of more individuals on campus, and gather more support from UAA
students, affiliates, groups, committees and faculty.

Regent Kirk Wickersham suggested designating specific smoking areas away from the main
pedestrian paths on campus. He advised the group to seek the support of the faculty alliance,
the staff alliance and the Student Coalition of Leaders.

“It’s a little premature, but they’re on the right track,” Wickersham said.

Bruce Schultz, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, said the matter should be brought to
the attention of USUAA, UAA’s student government, to gauge the thoughts of the student
population as a whole.

He also suggested offering healthy lifestyle education courses or seminars on campus.

An informational handout compiled by Alaska’s Mission 100 Project and the Alaska Tobacco
Control Alliance was available to those in attendance at the BOR meeting.

“The number of campuses in the United States with a smoke-free or tobacco-free policy grew
from 420 campuses in 2010 to 825 in 2012,” the handout reads. This statistic comes from the
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation in Oct. 2012.

The handout also states about 9 of 10 smokers started smoking by age 18, and 99 percent
started by age 26. This statistic comes from a report by the Surgeon General.

The document highlights five reasons for a tobacco-free campus, including reduce secondhand
smoke and overall tobacco use, increasing students’ success at work and in class, saving
thousands of dollars for the university annually, supporting healthy choices and healthy role
models and improving beauty and professional image of campus.

The handout provides a model for what a tobacco-free campus should look like. The model is
summarized below:

Due to findings that personally smoking as well as inhaling secondhand smoke are “significant
health hazards,” the use, sales, and distribution of tobacco and smoking devices on campus is
to be strictly prohibited – as is the carrying of any lighted smoking devices anywhere on campus
or at remote campuses, or in university rented, leased, or owned vehicles.

In this document, “tobacco” is defined as any cigarette, pipe, cigar, bidi, hookah, clove
cigarette, dip, chew, snuff, or snus in any form.

According to the document, all individuals on campus are required to abide by this standard at
all times. A board should enact proper means to issue fines for violations of these established
rules, as well as collecting these fines.

Upcoming Alaska Native Studies Conference

Maria Williams, UAA professor and Director of Alaska Native Studies (AKNS), said the first AKNS
conference ever conducted is April 5-6.

She said this UA state-wide event will include over 30 panels, primarily discussing Alaska Native
language, the Russian period of Alaska Native history and education. Among many other things,
the conference will also feature five or more workshops and 10 or more poster presentation
sessions.

There will be a Pre-Conference Symposia April 4 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. at the Anchorage
Museum. The $15 registration fee for the symposia includes admission to artist performances,
panels, coffee and snacks.

Williams said there is an $85 registration fee that includes a free lunch and banquet.

She said the AKNS department is currently short $12,000-15,000, so they are coordinating
fundraising. Material regarding the conference has been sent to many Alaska Native
corporations and non-profits organizations.

UAA extension campus Kodiak College has been heavily involved in the planning of conference,
Williams said.

Registration and detailed information is available online at uaa.alaska.edu/native/. Williams
said over 70 people have committed to attending.

Gloria O’Neill, new Regent and President and CEO of Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc., offered
to distribute emails about the conference. O’Neill began her eight-year term as a Regent this
month.

UAF graduate commends firefighter program

Paul Miranda, UAF graduate and medic for the Anchorage Fire Department (AFD,) also spoke
during public testimony.

As a student firefighter paramedic at UAF, where he earned a Bachelor’s in emergency
management, Miranda won second place in the Alaska emergency medical skills competition.
Miranda also received one of UAF’s Exceptional Student Awards.

He briefly spoke to the BOR, sharing how adequately his training at UAF has prepared him for
employment with the AFD. Regent Mary Hughes expressed her astonishment for his successes
at such a young age and her gratitude for his presentation.

AVIATION CONCERNS

Katie Rowell spoke about how tight the aviation department’s conditions are from a former
student’s perspective. Rowell, who graduated from UAA with a bachelor’s of science in aviation
technology, was hired by Era Aviation in May 2012.

Rowell said her experiences at UAA and Era have shown her how important aviation is in
Alaska. Particular struggles she felt as a student were severely limited aircraft and instructor
availability. She said when she started at UAA in 2007, the university had nine total aircraft.
Four of them were for private airtime and three were for mechanical instruction, leaving only
two for actual training airtime. She said these two planes were often unavailable because of
maintenance. When she started at UAA, there were three aviation instructors. In 2011, her
main instructor left, leaving only 2 instructors.

“Delays in training caused significant deterioration in skills, in knowledge,” Rowell said.

Closing her presentation to the BOR, she said she does not regret attending UAA, but she would
like to see improvements in the pilot training program.

Recently, the aviation department has suffered quite a drastic Opinion change. According to
Director of Aviation Rocky Capozzi, outside funding only covers 75 percent of aviation insurance
as compared to a former 90 percent. He said his department’s insurance bill is now $73,000 a
year compared to the previous $45,000. And he said it is soon expected to double, placing large
financial stress on the department and students.

Capozzi spoke about the change in the aviation industry and the need for pilots in Alaska.
Capozzi said 80 percent of Alaskan pilots will retire in the next eight years.

While the professional piloting program produced nine graduates last year, only four to five are
expected to graduate this year.

The BOR discussed the possibility of the FAA changing the retirement age of pilots from 65 to
70 to meet the state’s need for pilots.

Capozzi and several Regents said fewer pilots are coming from the military in recent years.
Gamble confirmed this and said the cost of training non-military pilots is extraordinarily high.

Because funds for the functional aviation department are nearly capped, Capozzi discussed the
tolerable distress the department is currently under. After the meeting, he insisted he is not
seeking any drastic immediate change in department funding or process.

Capozzi said flight instructors are hourly employees and, because of other job offers, have a
particularly quick turnover rate.

Regent Fuller Cowell asked if Capozzi has a plan for UAA’s flight instructor shortage.

Capozzi said he doesn’t a have plan. He said there is not enough funding to hire more
instructors. Flight instructors are paid $30 an hour and students are charged $42 an hour for
flight time with an instructor. With overhead fees, the department breaks even, Capozzi said.

Capozzi said it currently costs students $200 an hour to fly a Cessna 172. However, flight time
per hour is comparable to what it is at Merrill field.

President Gamble asked about possibility to contract out our training to other companies in an
effort to earn money.

Capozzi said it is unrealistic with the department’s current resources.

“I’m limping along,” Capozzi said.

UA GENERAL EDUCATION REFORM

Cathy Cahill, UAF science professor, reported on behalf of the Coalition of Student Leaders.
She said six to 10 months of investigation about general education requirements have been
conducted.

Concepts explored were what students should have to think, write, and communicate orally,
common learning outcomes, what is best way to do teach these outcomes. Cahill also discussed
how the university can be clear about these concepts to best help students reach these
expectations.

She would like to see these proposed standards implemented across the entire UA system.

Cahill said English departments now have common incoming student placement scores across
the entire UA system.

REGENTS AGENDAS AND DISCUSSIONS

BUILDING MAINTENANCE BONDS

A motion was presented to allocate a large sum of bonded funds for building maintenance.

According to the BOR, bonding has only been used for profitable investments in the past.
However, $33 million was proposed to be allocated in bonds for maintenance of UA buildings.

Gamble said deferred maintenance is a high priority of the BOR, and has been for many years,
explaining the $33 million allocation.

“These buildings aren’t going to take care of themselves. They’re just going to get worse,”
Regent Tim Brady said. He continued to explain that maintaining buildings does lead to
increased revenue.

Wickersham said he is “not too fond” of paying for maintenance through bonds, but he believes
it is the most plausible method to do so.

Before the vote on the measure, Regent Cowell said he is voting against the bill because the
precedent it sets for the BOR’s allocation of funds.

With a 9-1 vote, the motion passed, Cowell being the only opposing Regent.

WAIVED TUITION FEES

The BOR discussed a large uncollected sum of waived out-of-state student surcharges. After
a number of concerned responses by various regents, Gamble silenced the disconcerted
members of the board.

Gamble said people assume the worst when hearing language such as “uncollected out-of-state
surcharges.” He strongly believes chancellors should be allowed to make their own decisions
within their own divisions without extensive BOR interference because they best understand
the needs of their divisions.

“It’s just another one of those things where we need to have our hand on the throttle, but just
a light touch,” Gamble said.

He then said waivers for out-of-state surcharges need to be documented and observed, but left
alone as long as contained within reasonable boundaries.

FACILITIES COMMITTEE:

Chancellor Rogers said UAF is seeing less part time students and more full time students.

Reference 15, a $5.6 million proposal to “correct the condensation problem in the music wing”
at UAF was unanimously passed with a 5-0 vote.

This process repairs water damage and eliminates any mildew or mold containing materials and
outfitting the exterior walls of the music wing with spray foam and other moisture-preventing
treatments.

A partial renovation of the Eva McGown Music Room is mandatory because the wall removal
and repair. Also, vapor barrier conflictions and insulation issues at the west wall of the Davis
Concert Hall will be addressed with this project.

Reference 16 was a $2.55 million renovation proposal from the Bristol Bay Campus to reform
the first floor of the former NAPA auto parts store in Dillingham to a 7,200 sq. ft. extension of
its Applied Sciences Building. The building would encompass a new nursing lab and classroom,
a science lab, a sustainable energy lab with a library and office, a tele-presence conference
room, two offices, storage rooms, and building support such as commons, lobby, circulation,
restrooms and more.

The reference passed with a 5-0 vote.

MASTER PLAN UPDATE

The UAA Master Plan Committee gave a status report on the current state of the Master Plan.

Master Plan leaders say they do their best to abide by both the direction of the UAA mission
statement and the BOR’s guidelines in structuring the future of the campus.

According to community council meetings, expansive facilities assessments of UAA’s current
buildings, and the campus interview process, the Master Plan board deduced consolidation
and density are two of the main concerns for the campus. People also commonly requested
common rooms for students and staff to collaborate.

Master Plan representatives also made specific notes to keep new what the campus already
has via proper maintenance. They also aim to increase interest in research and innovation on
campus.

There was much talk of the role of student life as UAA changes from a commuter campus to a
residential campus. Student life will need to best establish a stronger community connection as
more students live on campus.

The committee is also looking to increase traffic circulation on campus. Regents stressed how
important it is that the local residential neighbors support this process

The committee will clean up disconnects in pedestrian walkways across campus that will be
made into continuous pathways, particularly near spine.

Green space on campus will ideally be preserved for nature, but it will still be assessed for its
best usage.

Regent Mary Hughes said she sees the working relationship with the immediate neighbors of
UAA and APU as vital to the Master Plan progress.

Case said he sees the current goal of doubling student housing as a start to what the university
needs. He mentioned the possibility of renovating local apartments to become student housing.

Case also mentioned the possibility of student housing on top of commercial buildings, such as
the bookstore, for example. Case cited the University of Oregon for putting student housing on
top of commercial buildings.

Regent Fischer supports the increase in the number of bedrooms the Master Plan will bring to
UAA student housing.

In efforts to meet the standard requiring one percent of total construction value of buildings
with substantial public use to be devoted to art, UAA has acquired new artwork for the Health
Sciences Building and the Conoco Philips Integrated Science Building.

February 12, 2013 Keldon Irwin

Students looking for work have the opportunity to meet with at least 19 employers hiring people for summer, part- time and full-time jobs.

Stephanie Whaley, internship and experiential learning coordinator at the University Center, said a career fair is scheduled to take place Feb. 14 and invited students and college graduates seeking employment to attend.

During the Feb. 8 Union of Students at the University of Alaska Anchorage meeting, she also urged students to wear business attire and bring resumes to the fair.

“Most of the employers show up by 8 a.m. Go-getters show up at 7:30 a.m.,” Whaley said.

The fair is from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Students interested in volunteering at the fair can be part of the “career crew,” helping set up tables and offering other assistance throughout the day.

Whaley said most people on the career crew were offered jobs last year because volunteer work displays the kind of ambition most employers seek in new hires.

For more information, call UAA Career Services Center at 907-786-4513.

In other news, Senator Max Bullock said the Student Academic Affairs Committee met with Bruce Schultz, vice chan- cellor of student academic affairs, last week.

According to Bullock, Schultz discussed the Stay on Track program.

Several survey questions for a future survey were drafted regarding the program.

Some of the questions asked about what inhibits people from staying on their graduation path; and what are people’s best and worst UAA experiences.

Senator Johnnie Templeton of the Sustainability Commit- tee said he is planning many student events for March and April.

“We’re working on a band as well,” Templeton said.

The Greek Council Representative, congratulated Bullock and Senator Mabil “Mo” Duir on their second presen- tation to the Greek Council in attempts to receive recognition as a temporary UAA fraternity. Duir reported on behalf of the Board of Cultural Awareness.

He said the diversity action council wants to have an April meeting for student leaders, but no details are available yet.

Templeton said travel board applications are due soon.

Any student or organization seeking a travel grant from UAA must have their applications turned in by Feb. 15.

Vice President Andrew McConnell said the Green Fee Board is reviewing 10 applicants for a green fee assistant. He said no one is officially hired yet and the position is open until filled. He said those interested in the position can apply at uakjobs.com. There is a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5.

Senator Andrew Lessig said the General Education Review Assessment Board meets this week.

It’s the last of the board’s sessions assessing other college’s general education stan- dards.

Following this week, they will determine how other schools’ standards can modify UAA’s general education requirements.

With a unanimous 12-0 vote, Lessig was appointed to UAA Assembly.

A new change implemented this semester is the livestreaming of USUAA meetings.

The stream can found on the USUAA Facebook page.

McConnell suggested a possible five or 10 year USUAA Master Plan to give direction to future members.

USUAA has a very high turnover rate and he believes this may be a progressive step toward bettering USUAA for future students.

February 12, 2013 Keldon Irwin

Students eager with questions enjoyed a complimentary continental breakfast as Mayor Dan Sullivan took his seat beside USUAA Senator Andrew Lessig in the Student Union upstairs lounge Feb. 6.

Max Bullock, business management sophomore, opened the Q&A session with a public safety inquiry.

February 6, 2013 Keldon Irwin

Katelyn Jones, anthropology major, emailed an opinion piece to The Northern Light Jan. 31 regarding the conduct of a student government leader on Facebook.

Andrew McConnell, vice president of USUAA, made statements Jan. 28 on USUAA Senator Kate Chaitoff’s status about Dan Savage’s upcoming performance.

December 3, 2012 Keldon Irwin

In collaboration with the Union of Students of University of Alaska Anchorage and the potential fraternity TKE, the department of Student and Academic Affairs have started their first Toys for Tots toy drive at UAA.

December 3, 2012 Keldon Irwin

The “Master Plan” is a broad spectrum of renovation ideas for UAA. Headed by master planner Lonnie Mansell, a team of about 30 architects, engineers and planners are currently preparing blueprints that will shape the campus’ future.

The Master Plan team designs future buildings, parking lots, sky bridges, pedestrian transportation, vehicular circulation and campus greenery.

“The UA system, as well as the campus, come up with an academic plan, an overall strategic plan — and then there are a bunch of smaller plans underneath those that that make it all happen,” Mansell said, explaining the structure of the Master Plan. “The Master Plan is the physical infrastructure that makes it all happen.”

The plan has been divided to focus on immediate, short-term, and long-term goals for the campus. Respectively, those terms imply less than 10-year, 10 to 30-year, and 30-plus year goals.

“Right now, we’re (shaped) like a dumbbell or a dog bone. We’re elongated like that,” Mansell said, explaining the juxtaposition of UAA’s buildings.

One major goal of the plan is to redesign the inner matrix of the campus so it can fill more open space while still using roughly the same amount of total acreage. Mansell used the word “densify” to explain the plans for the campus.

Densifying the campus would not only conserve space and preserve the greenery that envelops the school, but it would also allow for more sky bridges.

Densifying also includes adding buildings in close proximity to each other, which will allow cheaper sky bridge possibilities. The ability to keep sky bridges short will save money in heating costs, allowing for more warm walking solutions for students.

There is a feedback page on the UAA Master Plan Blogspot page where individuals can leave any suggestions or input they like.

The Master Plan team not only reads these suggestions, they particularly appreciate them.

Also, the sports arena is currently being built. Its developments can be followed at http://uaamasterplan2012.blogspot.com/p/news.html

Varying greatly in importance and cost, listed below are several possible features of the Master Plan, provided by Mansell.

 

WEST CAMPUS

UAA purchased a small parcel of land on the southeast corner of Lake Otis and Providence. It will be developed with time.

Most satellite buildings on the far west end of campus will likely be left alone, particularly the Professional Studies Building.

“One of the things we want to do with west campus is to maintain the look and feel of the old Anchorage Community College, so keeping that quad and the honeycomb of sidewalks there is important to that look,” Mansell said.

 

EAST CAMPUS

Because of the buildings’ distance from main campus, it is questionable whether sky bridges will ever reach the art building and ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building.

If the sky bridge ever does reach ConocoPhillips, it would connect to the SSB through one or more new buildings. While this is possible, sky bridges are exceptionally expensive to heat, and the option of adding more is being heavily weighed by planning teams.

Currently, the only plans that are in the final approval stages are a series of engineering expansions. These expansions include a new engineering building, a new garage and a complete renovation of the existing engineering building.

If approved, design for the engineering expansions will be finished within the next year and construction should begin in summer 2014. Mansell and his team are hoping to receive final approval from the Board of Regents within the next week.

The Master Plan team would like to see Health and Science Building Phase Two initiated. This would include an additional building and likely another parking garage, all connected by a sky bridge.

 

GENERAL DEVELOPMENT

The team would like to construct a loop road that follows the entire perimeter of the campus for pedestrians and shuttle traffic. Coupled directly next to this, they would like to see a foot traffic trail.

Mansell also mentioned a possible diagonal overpass connecting the upcoming sports arena and the Consortium Library.

December 3, 2012 Keldon Irwin

Hardcore bands consistently receive heavy criticism for sounding too similar to each other. It seems August Burns Red, or ABR, has heard enough of these insults and snapped, pushing them to write “Sleddin’ Hill,” a 42-minute onslaught of Christmas metal.

December 3, 2012 Keldon Irwin

For those out there who may have interest in the forbidden fruits of botany, “Weed Farmer Overgrown” can be a legal way to slake one’s curiosity.

November 19, 2012 Keldon Irwin

At the Union of Students at University of Alaska Anchorage meeting Nov. 16, Glenna Muncy, director of UAA parking services, shared a presentation explaining the request for an increase in parking services fees.

November 19, 2012 Keldon Irwin

From Tierra del Fuego to Alaska, talented athletes exist in all corners of the earth. Realizing the wellspring of athleticism at UAA deserved a spot on the national stage, then Chancellor John Lindauer appointed the young, ambitious coach Bob Rachal as athletic director and basketball coach in 1977.

November 13, 2012 Keldon Irwin

One does not often hear a herd of battle-prepared gophers howling at a pack of wild Seawolves, but the No. 2 ranked Golden Gophers from the University of Minnesota had every reason to whine Nov. 10 when the scoreboard read 2-2 at the end of the third period.

November 12, 2012 Keldon Irwin

The proposed fiscal year 2014 operating budget, which allots an annual budget of $963,453,800 within the University of Alaska system, was passed in the Gorsuch Commons on Nov. 7. It is a 4.2 percent increase over last year’s approved budget. “Must pay” facets accounted for 2.9 percent of the additional funding, such as cost increase for teachers, rising electricity costs and rising gas costs. “High demand programs” were allotted 0.8 percent and 0.5 percent was allotted for general budget adjustments.

While the board approved this budget, the final official budget will be released Dec. 15.

Detailed in the proposed fiscal year 2014 operating budget were increase funding for e-learning, advising and Mapworks.

Mapworks is a comprehensive retention and success program for students, which informs them of possibilities to succeed in courses they are struggling in. Within the last year, Mapworks’ student base has risen from 2,000 to over 10,500.

UA’s attending chancellors reported 95 percent of alerts that were issued last year were “closed,” meaning that students who were alerted sought out an avenue of suggested help for courses they were struggling with.

One of these offered avenues of assistance is intensified advising for students on academic probation.

The board also discussed expansions to UAF’s student housing. The proposed fiscal year 2014 capital budget request and 10-year capital improvement plan reads, “The UAF Campus Housing Project includes an estimated 250 new beds in three new suite-style dorm facilities. These facilities will be in the core of campus along Copper Lane.”

Regent Kenneth Fisher spoke in favor of these modifications to student housing.

“The more we can be a traditional campus, the more we can increase our numbers,” Fisher said.

A $4 million grant was also approved to develop a system for studying people of all ages, to collect information on wage differences between college graduates and non-college graduates, and the percentage of Alaska teachers that attended kindergarten through twelfth grade in the state.

Engineering Expansion

During the public testimony portion of the meeting, over 10 people presented speeches to the board favoring the new engineering department expansions for both UAA and UAF.

President and vice president of the University of AlaskaEngineering Honors Society, mechanical engineering senior Najmus Saqib and senior mathematics and petroleum engineering senior Justin Cannon spoke respectively in favor of the new engineering building proposed for UAF.

UAF’s expansion, estimated to cost $58,300,000, will be 116,900 square feet, have five floors and connect to the nearby Bunnell Building.

The proposed fiscal year 2014 capital budget request and 10-Year Capital Improvement Plan explains it best.

“The University of Alaska Fairbanks, responding to the 100 percent increase in student enrollment and graduation of baccalaureate-trained engineers…The proposed new UAF engineering facility responds to the initiative to graduate more engineering students, enhances the student experience for engineering students and other students campus-wide with a visible and interactive learning environment, integrates UAF’s successful engineering research and graduate programs and addresses critical classroom needs,” the document reads.

Also, UAA’s engineering program has nearly doubled within the last five years and now serves nearly 1,000 students.

In response to this increase, the 2014 budget proposed a new UAA engineering building that is estimated to cost $60,600,000.

Regarding the new UAA engineering building, the proposed fiscal year 2014 capital budget request and 10-Year Capital Improvement Plan reads, “New baccalaureate engineering and related associate and certificate programs were created to meet industry demand and have been one of the driving forces for the enrollment increases. The existing engineering building was built in the early 1980s and is currently undersized. The selected site for the new building is directly south of the Bookstore and would connect with the new Health Science Building across Providence Drive.”

Local engineers who spoke at the public testimony said they strongly support UA’s investment with new engineering developments, estimated to cost about $100 million. They feel this will help keep Alaska’s funds in Alaskans’ pockets by bolstering local engineering options for young scholars.

Richard Riech, a local engineer and speaker, also said that the new engineering expansions would allow them to hire more “homegrown” engineers. This is beneficial to the local market because local engineers are already accustomed to the drastic weather and unique culture of Alaska.

Mining Growth

Regents said mining is projected to grow 19 percent in the next 10 years.

In response to these projections, UA President Patrick Gamble established a mining committee to ensure that the local workforce will be adequately prepared to work with the mine increases.

According to the board, the highest-paid mining job in southeastern Alaska is underground mining. The average underground miner makes $88,000 a year and wages start at $70,000 a year. Faculty members at UAS have been in contact with local mines that support UAS’s planned training for the next 10 years. Being one of only a dozen mining schools in the nation, UAF has many employers from the rest of the country who are seeking employees through the university.

“I think this has great long-term prospects,” Gamble said.

UAS has been working with local high schools in attempts to help students get internships with mining companies. They recently coached 20 students — many of which received internships. They have plans to guide over 100 students this spring to seek internships with local mines.

Tuition

 

Gamble also said that if UA did not have a specific goal to keep tuition down for students, students’ expenses would have risen 5-7 percent this year. He went on to explain that, for the students’ sakes, the board sought funding from elsewhere.

He said grants should be considered revenue because they net money that would have not been received otherwise.

“We’ve got some issues with the methodology,” Gamble said, explaining his discontent with the formulas that total the UA system’s funding.

Media

Regent Kirk Wickersham shared his concern that the radio station at UAF, KUAC, does not offer any approved credits for students that are involved with the program.

Considering he spent years with UA radio, Wickersham said this topic was very personal to him, and he would like to see the program modified to give credits in the near future. While no specific solutions were offered, it was discussed for quite some time. Given his passionate and goal-driven statements, imminent reform seems possible.

November 5, 2012 Keldon Irwin

Refusing to be disheartened by news that a UAA football team is financially infeasible, a group of eight students have collaborated to start a co-ed intramural football team. While the team is unrecognized by the university thus far, they are making lengthy strides toward becoming an official team.

They are pleasantly surprised with the interest and support their cause is receiving from UAA students and faculty members.

Political science sophomore Mabil “Mo” Duir and business management sophomore Max Bullock purchased a used football for $2 and spent three hours on campus asking those who say they would play football for a UAA team to sign the ball. After that short window of time, the ball was crowded with 78 signatures.

Duir and Bullock also set up a table in front of the USUAA office in the Student Union and asked for donations to kick-start the movement. They displayed the Oct. 23 release of The Northern Light where Athletic Director Steve Cobb is quoted saying, “Adding football would cost $6 million.”

Using this quote as a reference, they began asking for one dollar at a time.

“In two hours we raised $87, asking broke college students to help our cause,” Bullock said.

“A $6 million project started with $2,” Duir said.

Duir played four years of varsity football in high school, primarily as a safety. In lieu of accepting a football scholarship to Jackson State University, he chose to attend UAA to be closer to his family.

While discussing the future of the team, Duir said he is willing to start playing football as a Seawolf as soon as he can.

When asked if the group is seeking funding from other sources, Bullock smiled and replied, “We’re seeking $6 million from corporate sponsors.”

While it is a nationwide team and not an intramural football team that would cost $6 million, Bullock’s response shows the lofty goals shared between these eight companions.

October 30, 2012 Keldon Irwin

At the Oct. 26 Union of Students at the University of Alaska Anchorage meeting, USUAA Senator Max Bullock described a potential natural gas shortage in Anchorage this upcoming winter.

“By 2015, Alaska may not have enough natural gas to heat our houses,” Bullock said.

He presented an “Energy Watch” natural gas emergency protocol poster, explaining that there is a chance, although unlikely, for a local natural gas shortage. Electric utilities in the Alaskan Railbelt, local governments and ENSTAR all advise local families to use natural gas wisely this year to avoid what could be a very catastrophic winter shortage.

 

Bike Share

After months of developments, UAA’s proposed Bike Share Program is finally being presented to the UAA Strategic Opportunities Board, or SOB. Because the SOB offers a local, simpler route, supporters of the program are seeking support from the SOB instead of from the Board of Regents. If the SOB approves the program, funding can then be requested.

 

Stay on Track

Paola Banchero, journalism department chair, announced that the Stay on Track program has officially launched its second year at UAA. Stay on Track strives to guide students to build a plan to get through college as opposed to choosing classes each semester. As opposed to last year’s slogan “Finish in Four,” she urged students to “Get it Done” and extended an invitation for UAA students to attend an ice cream social at 12:30-2:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 in the Student Union Upper Lounge.

All students who attend will be able to meet their adviser, receive information on the Stay on Track program and have a chance to win an iTunes gift card.

 

Student Employment

Daniel Ribuffo, former USUAA house speaker, proposed a change on UAA’s employment website, www.uakjobs.com. His concerns are primarily about how efficiently the website is managed.

“I’ve been fired from a job that I never even applied for,” said Ribuffo, describing an email stating that UAA is denying his application to be a dental hygienist. He never applied for a dental hygienist position.

While employed as a student worker, Ribuffo also said that he once received an email stating that he is no longer employed at his position. He asked his boss about the email and his boss did not know why it was sent.

Ribuffo also said he feels several job listings on the site are not deleted after the position is filled and students are not properly informed of the status of their application.

USUAA members did not have any solutions to offer, but said responsibility for up keeping posts falls on the shoulders of each individual department, because every department manages their own listings.

October 23, 2012 Keldon Irwin

Despite all the hope and hype for a UAA football team, Athletic Director Steve Cobb said Oct. 19 during the USUAA meeting that a football team will not be commissioned anytime soon.

“Adding football would cost $6 million,” he said. “We’re currently spending $8 million on 13 (sports).”

Cobb briefly summarized the process of adding a sport to UAA’s arsenal, which requires a short, yet potentially difficult process.

First, the sport is proposed to the Board of Regents, because they possess the executive authority to accept or reject new sports. Next, the Board of Regents has to approve the sport. Last, if approved, the Board of Regents orders the person or group who proposed the sport to allocate the means to cover any expenses that the proposed sport requires.

Cobb said that while the athletic department does have minor financial issues to sort out, they would be solved through “internal cuts.”

He was very careful to emphasize that should will be no need for athletic fee increases in the next four years.

Cobb also mentioned the desperate need for a student-only recreation center.

“We are the largest school in the nation that has not built a recreational center for their students. It’s embarrassing for me,” said Cobb.

While UAA’s new recreation center will not be entirely for students only, students will have notable priority to the building over the community.

“Right now, it’s in the backdoor stages,” Cobb said.

Cobb shared that plans for the recreation center are only in the preliminary draft stages.

While the details of the building are all tentative, Cobb did disclose that the building should contain a pool, basketball court and track.

The recreation center should also showcase a weight room, a rock-climbing wall and an ice rink that will double as a turf field.

In addition to the services the recreation center will provide to students, it will also be a notable source of income for the school through advertisements and a soft drink partnership. UAA is currently deciding between Coke and Pepsi as a soft drink dispenser.

In other news, USUAA Senator Max Bullock reported on UAA’s new partnership with the Tutor Matching Service, a new service available to UAA students through Facebook.

There are two types of tutors at UAA. Tutors who are paid by the school work in tutoring centers on campus, whereas private tutors advertise with bulletins and meet in various locations. With the goal of the most efficacious services possible, Bullock and other senators discussed the two main problems with tutoring on campus.

First, all of the tutoring services offered are not consolidated into one location. Second, tutors provided by UAA do not currently provide science services to students who are not enrolled in supplementary programs.

The Tutor Matching Service is an online hub where local tutors can consolidate their credentials, available hours, subjects offered and prices in one place.

The only payment method offered through the Tutor Matching Service is through Paypal.

Not all tutors require payment, because some are volunteers offering free services.

Bullock sees this new program as a solution to tutoring ambiguity across campus.

USUAA Vice President Andrew McConnell also reported that current measures to reform course fees are being enacted.

“Some professors don’t even know that fees are being collected for courses that they are teaching,” said McConnell.

He said that some fees were put in place up to 10 years ago and have not been evaluated since. While there is a lot of work to be done, McConnell seemed confident that these measures would produce a satisfactory reform in course fees.

The Union of Students at the University of Alaska Anchorage meets every Friday at 3 p.m. in the Student Union Cafeteria.

 

October 15, 2012 Keldon Irwin

While many college diets are likely to be primarily comprised of caffeine, instant noodles, alcohol, Subway, drunken nachos and more caffeine, setting aside a few hours to cook something will not only ease one’s mind, but it will also ease his or her caffeine-knotted stomach.

October 15, 2012 Keldon Irwin

Sharing hundreds of blunts and stages as a member of OFWGKTA with infamous rapper Tyler the Creator gave rising rap duo MellowHype the knowledge of what rap fans want to hear.

No longer destined to merely be the mid-stage lurkers at shows, MellowHype’s new album “Numbers,” released Oct. 9, establishes them as serious contenders in the rap industry.

October 8, 2012 Keldon Irwin

Union of Students at the University of Alaska Anchorage held a weekly meeting in the Student Union Café Friday and discussed several topics at hand.

October 8, 2012 Keldon Irwin

My circle of friends has always regarded Deadmau5 as being “that redundant electronic artist,” but his newest album, uniquely titled “Album Title Goes Here,” is shockingly fresher than his previous works.