Category: News

December 11, 2016 Max Jungreis

On Wednesday, Dec. 7, former Republican state representative Mike Kelly of Fairbanks died in a plane crash in Fort Wainright. Kelly was flying a single-engine craft when it crashed on military property 17 miles from Fairbanks. Governor Bill Walker offered his condolences to Kelly’s family in a Twitter message posted Wednesday evening. Kelly, 74, was…

December 11, 2016 Samantha Davenport

With the lack of security cameras around UAA’s campus, many hit-and-runs, vandalizations and burglaries have gone un-surveillanced and undocumented. The lack of security gives the opportunity for theft and destruction of property, leaving students with no alternative but to accept the fate of a fender-bender or other damage. Johanna Richter, an economics major at UAA,…

December 5, 2016 Brenda Craig

President-elect Trump’s disbelief in climate change disregards continuous damage in Alaska

December 4, 2016 Richard Han

With efforts to heighten security in downtown Anchorage, Anchorage Police Department started their foot patrol program at the end of last month. Officers are working in pairs patrolling the area in hopes to deter crime and also have the opportunity to talk and work with the public. The boundary of patrol will be in the…

November 21, 2016 Alexis Abbott

Leading up to the 2016 Presidential election, Donald Trump released a contract to the American voters, promising what he would do in his first 100 days in the oval office. Trump calls his pledge a 100-day action plan to “Make America Great Again.”

The president-elect’s contract states his intention to restore honesty and accountability in bringing change to Washington. It begins with six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest collision in Washington, DC.

“First: Propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.

Second: A hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety and health).

Third: A requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.

Fourth: A five-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.

Fifth: A lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.

Sixth: A complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.”

The contract then states seven actions to protect American workers.

“First: Announce the intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.

Second: Announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Third: Direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator.

Fourth: Direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers.

Fifth: Lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves.

Sixth: Lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects to move forward.

Seventh: Cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.”

The 100-day plan also includes five actions to restore security and the constitutional rule of law.

“First: Cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.

Second: Begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on his list, who will uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.

Third: Cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities.

Fourth: Begin removing the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.

Fifth: Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur.”

Trump also contracted that he will work with Congress to introduce broader legislative measures in his first 100 days in the White House.

He intends to alter and replenish the following precedents: Middle-Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act, end the Offshoring Act, American Energy and Infrastructure Act, School Choice and Education Opportunity Act, repeal and replace Obamacare Act, Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act, end Illegal Immigration Act, restore Community Safety Act, restore Nation Security Act and clean up corruption in Washington Act.

Although many Americans are hesitant to concur with the many pledges Trump has contracted, some millennials are on board with the president-elect’s 100-day action plan.

“I believed that Trump would win from the get-go, polls early on were biased towards Clinton, and although not many people like Donald Trump, I am a firm believer that our American economy and the oil economy in Alaska are going to be greater,” Jacob Andrews, an Anchorage resident said. “I think Trump is good for Alaska, and I think Trump is good for America.”

In support of the Trump contract, many Republican voters were relieved to find out the 2016 election results.

“I am actually really happy about Trump’s victory, I honestly think that his presidency can make a big change, we need a change. We’ve had Obama in office for eight years and I feel like since he is a Republican, I think that it is a good change to be made… if we had another Democrat in the house, we would keep going down the same path,” Monica Schwingendorf, a UAA criminal studies student said.

Young conservatives put their trust into the president-elect’s promise to recreate a government that is of, by and for the people.

“I think Trump’s presidency will be beneficial for our country because although he does not have a political background, his knowledge in business will be used to improve our country’s economy. I also think that his policies are misunderstood, and I think that having a president with Republican views will be a positive change for our government,” Bria Anderson, a UAA biology student said.

Trump believes that through this contract, and in the first 100 days of his presidency, he will restore the success in our economy, honesty to our American government and security to our local communities.

November 21, 2016 Max Jungreis

The Obama administration has cancelled Arctic offshore lease sales through 2022. On Friday, the Department of the Interior released a plan for offshore drilling leases that eliminated two proposed arctic options. President-elect Donald Trump has expressed support for increasing US oil production, but it would take him at least of couple of years to undo…

November 21, 2016 Lee Piltz

The hashtag ‘#notmypresident’ is being used to show frustration, fear and resentment at Trump’s win

November 13, 2016 Cheyenne Mathews

On Thursday Nov. 10 over 70 people gathered for anti-Trump rally at the Mall at Sears parking lot. Protesters waved signs and shouted chants of ‘This is what democracy looks like,’ ‘My body, my choice. Their body, their choice,’ and ‘Love Trumps hate.’ The ‘peaceful demonstration against Trump,’ as it was called on its Facebook…

November 13, 2016 Cheyenne Mathews

Sexually transmitted diseases, also known as sexually transmitted infections, are a large problem in Alaska. The Center for Disease Control state profile data for Alaska in 2015 ranked the state as first in the nation for chlamydia infections and fourth in the nation for gonorrheal infections per capita. People at the greatest risk and highest…

November 13, 2016 Alexis Abbott

After a year filled with budget reductions and financial adjustments heavily impacting the University of Alaska, it looks like the fiscal changes will be continuing next year. UA president Jim Johnsen proposed yet another five percent tuition increase for the 2017-2018 academic year, and as of Nov. 12, has been approved.

The State of Alaska is facing economic strains that negatively impact UA’s budget. This has resulted in a previous tuition hike, facility closes and program cuts. Countless students, staff and faculty a part of the UA system have been distressed over the redundant changes throughout the university.

The state’s quota has been cut from $375 million to $325 million since 2015. These reductions directly affect state-funded systems like the University of Alaska, which lead to the fiscal changes UA is experiencing. An increase in tuition would help UA profit revenue and achieve the university’s mission in being the state’s primary provider of higher education.

Johnsen sent out a memorandum to the Board of Regents, Coalition of Student Leaders and System Governance Council on Oct. 28, before proposing the tuition raise and being authorized by the Board of Regents Thursday, Nov. 12.

“In April, when our budget outlook was particularly grim, I was prepared to request the Regents amend AY2017’s already approved tuition rates to help offset the general fund shortfall. However, our general fund allocation was raised from $300 million to $325 million, making the tuition adjustment less urgent. I also heard from students and families that introducing a mid-year tuition increase would be a hardship. So, I put that option aside for academic year 2017,” Johnsen wrote in his memorandum.

Johnsen is optimistic in his appeal to continue a yearly tuition raise — and benefit the University of Alaska in the process.

“With the possibility that state support will decrease yet again in 2018, I will propose a modest tuition increase of 5 percent for all rates of tuition in the academic year of 2018 at the November Board of Regents meeting. This level of increase keeps UA’s tuition below the average published in-state tuition and fee prices at public master’s and public doctoral universities, thus ensuring affordability and access for our students,” Johnsen wrote.

Reactions to Johnsen’s said proposal have been mixed, and on top of previous changes that have happened at the institution, it has raised question.

Anna Berecz, a graduate student and assistant coach for the UAA ski team feels that another tuition raise could impede students from furthering their education.

“I know that the institution is supposed to attract new students, and I firmly believe that higher education is one thing that they should always keep low cost because that’s one of the most important things for our society to progress,” Berecz said.

Although some students and faculty do not support the planned tuition increase, Johnsen believes it is a reasonable amount to request.

Sebastian Garrett-Singh, a student in the UAA Department of Journalism and Communications also feels that another five percent tuition raise could very easily affect student turnout at the universities.

“Any tuition increase is deeply concerning, but I understand the UA system is in a precarious fiscal situation and solutions to closing the financial gap will almost never be perceived positively,” Garrett-Singh said. “While five percent isn’t going to make or break my educational experience, the increase will certainly impact my annual budgeting. As a student taking on loans it means my debt will be that much bigger come graduation. I’m more worried tuition increases will continue unabated, and future college students may lose a chance at a higher education because the cost of admission is simply too high.”

The state’s budget crisis is in full effect and will remain to impact the University of Alaska, and it’s allocation until the system has recovered revenue that has been forfeited. President Jim Johnsen along with the Board of Regents are evaluating the figures and fiscal options required to get UA’s budget back on track.

November 6, 2016 Max Jungreis

Local news: Governor Bill Walker announced Friday that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, the governor says that the cancer is treatable and won’t affect his performance. “It is anticipated I will need no further treatment post-surgery,” Walker said in a statement. “This diagnosis has not and will not impair my ability to…

November 6, 2016 Alexis Abbott

A new vision for the University of Alaska has been proposed by UAF neuroscience professor, Abel Bult-Ito. He calls it an alternative to the infamous Strategic Pathways.

Bult-Ito’s plan proposes an administrative restructuring of the University of Alaska system to strengthen the academic mission of research, teaching and service while reducing and eliminating administrative functions that are not directly correlated to his end goal.

The mission of Bult-Ito’s alternative is to raise the academic and research standing of the UA system, to increase student enrollment, retention and degree completion, also to increase research grants and contracts by investing in new tenure-track and research support, academic support staff and new tuition scholarships. This plan is estimated to generate over $900 million of additional revenue in a 10-year time period without any additional costs to the University of Alaska or the State of Alaska.

The planned restructuring includes condensing the UA Statewide office from about 150 positions to 60. This would include administration positions in the faculty and staff at the three UA campuses; University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Southeast.

There will be an estimated 198 staff and faculty positions eliminated from the UA system by the end of year three. Some of these employees may be placed in new academic programs or departments.

Despite the impact that these reductions will make on current employees, Bult-Ito is determined to positively influence future revenue. He trusts that our state university system will function well without an expanded system-wide office.

The savings that this plan will accumulate are predicted to be reinvested in 72 new tenure-track and 101 new STEM research faculty members, 31 new teaching and research staff and roughly 450 new tuition scholarships. The revenue to be gained within these departments will significantly impact the state-wide system as a whole.

The 10-year plan is projected to bring in additional revenues including tuition, which will exceed $104.3 million, tuition scholarship funds will exceed $35.3 million and research revenues will exceed $813.6 million. This amounts to a total exceeding $918 million, which is envisioned to be spent on UA, the State of Alaska and local communities.

Bult-Ito has been a professor of neurobiology and anatomy at UAF for 18 years and has been notably involved in research management at UA and in STEM fields. He believes that the faculty and academic research support staff are the core of the UA administration and that teaching students the concept of research is more than crucial to advance a functioning academia.

“This is just a plan, it’s not set in stone. It’s like an open document,” Bult-Ito said. “I realize it’s highly conservative, it’s because I don’t want to be too aggressive.”

Bult-Ito is confident that pursuing his alternative plan is the answer to future success both academically and financially for the University of Alaska.

“We are reinvesting in our university and reinvesting in our students. Just imagine what we can do with a positive student-centered approach like this. We have to be committed to the students first,” Bult-Ito said during his on-campus presentation, Wednesday, Nov. 2.

The Board of Regents have discussed Bult-Ito’s alternative, but continue to support the Strategic Pathways framework. Roberta Graham, a representative of the UA Board of Regents considers Strategic Pathways as the most effective option in increasing enrollment, reducing costs and improving quality.

“The regents have put their support behind Strategic Pathways as the initiative that will best serve the university. The regents would prefer that Dr. Bult-Ito work in concert with President Jim Johnsen with the regent-approved Strategic Pathways model, but appreciate his energy in seeking a prosperous University of Alaska,” Graham said.

Although Abel Bult-Ito’s alternative plan challenges Strategic Pathways — and UA President Jim Johnsen — Bult-Ito admits to continually reaching out to university administration and Johnsen himself to gain their support, but has been rejected. Bult-Ito expressed that although he did not receive an invite to the next Board of Regents meeting, he will be attending anyway. He feels passionately that the system has to collaborate and come together for this plan to bring success to the universities.

Bult-Ito has set up an accessible petition for UA students, staff and any other supporters to contribute in spreading his alternative 10-year proposal. He demands a new vision for the University of Alaska.

You can sign the petition and learn more information about A New Vision for the University of Alaska at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/543/762/046/demand-a-new-vision-for-the-university-of-alaska/

November 6, 2016 Cheyenne Mathews

On Oct. 25, Jessica Fry’s bike was stolen. She had left her bike at the bike rack outside of the Consortium Library overnight because of a late night with friends. The next morning, she walked back to retrieve her bike and found it missing. Fry was shocked. She hadn’t left it unattended that long, she…

November 6, 2016 Richard Han

On Nov. 18, 2016, students at UAA and members of the community will march together to take back the night. Take Back the Night is an international event that aims at allowing large numbers of people to publicly express their anger at the sexual violence that takes place and the victim shaming that is associated…

October 30, 2016 Alexis Abbott

Even back when movies were in black and white, Hollywood films normalized sexual assault. The media has played a serious role in de-stigmatizing rape, which has created a colossal problem for victims of sex crime everywhere. The idea of rape culture is often overlooked or distorted by the media and the produced content that we…