Category: News

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…

October 30, 2016 Cheyenne Mathews

On Oct. 20, the Chancellor’s office emailed the UAA community about a new mandatory sexual discrimination training called Haven. The email stated that Haven training, and training’s in general, could make a difference on campus by raising awareness of sex discrimination. This goal of further awareness led to a new school-wide goal for all faculty,…

October 30, 2016 Cheyenne Mathews

For most students, election season is a confusing time. Not only do students have to chose a candidate to vote for, but they also have to question whether their vote matters and how it gets carried out by the Electoral College. The Electoral College apportions votes to state based on that state’s representation in Congress. Alaska, as one of the smallest states, has three electoral votes — one for the representative seat and two for the Senate seats. Alaska is a winner-take-all state, meaning that all three electoral votes go to the Presidential candidate who wins the state popular vote.

The Alaska Republican Party has won the electoral votes of the state every Presidential election with the exception of the 1964 Presidential election. Alaska Republican Party Chairman, Tuckerman Babcock said electoral votes within the Republican party were decided by state delegates in April.

“Every two years, there is a grassroots gathering of Republican delegates at a state convention and the state convention in the presidential years nominate, chooses the three electors and the three replacement electors,” Babcock said. “And that was done end of April this year, and three Alaskans were approved at our state convention of Alaska if our Republican candidate gets the most votes in Alaska.”

Babcock has never been an elector for Alaska, but his wife was last year, and he said there are no requirements to become an elector.

“There are no qualifications legally, but in my experience what conventions do is hire people that they trust will support the Republican nominee if the Republicans carry Alaska and people who have been involved in the support of Republican politics,” Babcock said. “Now, in this case, the electors are former governor Sean Parnell, longtime active republicans, pretty young but Jacqueline Tupou of Juneau and Carolyn Leman of Anchorage.”

After Election day on Nov. 8, the popular vote will decide which party wins the three electoral votes for Alaska. In almost all past years, the Republican Party has taken those three votes to Juneau for the official ceremony.

“Then after the election if the Republican candidate wins in Alaska they will be flown to Juneau,” Babcock said. “In Centennial Hall, there will be a big ceremony where they actually cast the votes for President.”

In 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson carried the Alaskan popular vote and was also the only time the Democratic Party took all three of the Alaskan electoral votes. Jake Hamburg is the Alaska Democratic Party communications director and he said the party votes to have three potential electors, but that those potential electors haven’t been utilized since 1964.

“We haven’t gone through this process since 1964 because it is a winner take all state, Alaska hasn’t gone for a Democratic president since 1964,” Hamburg said. “In the state convention in May, we elected our three electors. The three electors we selected at the state convention would serve in that capacity.”

The three Democratic electors were selected at the state convention but according to Hamburg, anyone can run for a Democratic electoral position if they follow the right steps.

“The electors are selected at the state convention, so the first thing you need to do is to run as a delegate at the district-level caucuses so then that allows you to be a state delegate at the state convention, and then you simply have to volunteer to run as an elector, and then the whole body of delegates at the state convention votes and selects the three electors,” Hamburg said.

The three electors the Democratic Party nominated are June Degnan from Juneau, D’Arcy Hutchings from Anchorage and Victor Fischer from Anchorage. The alternate electoral for the Democratic Party is Don Gray from Fairbanks.

Genevieve Mina, biology and political science major, is also the Alaska Young Democrats secretary and she acknowledges that the Democratic Party has only once received those electoral votes, but she believes this is a symbolic election.

“If [Clinton] were to receive the Alaskan vote that would probably be after the rest of the nation has figured out whether she has won the election or not, since our polls are four hours after the east coast polls and there is also the fact that Alaska only has three electoral votes so if you compare that to California…we’re pretty negligible,” Mina said. “But I believe symbolically, it would be a great testament to our changing nature of Alaska’s demographics and how we are slowly turning more purple, and we are not just a traditional Republican red state like everybody else believes.”

California has 55 electors compared to Alaska’s three due to population differences but Alaska has the benefit of single voters holding more weight because the state is ensured two more electoral votes than the state population demands.

Ryan McKee is the President of the Anchorage Young Republicans and he believes that the Electoral College is not as great as a national popular vote.

“I think a lot of us would like to see the popular vote take precedent over the Electoral College,” McKee said. “I think both parties could, for the Bush/Gore we would have lost that one but you notice in the Lower 48, there are basically seven battleground states, and those states decide the election. So if it was a popular vote, I think the candidates would be forced to spread out a little more over the country.”

Despite the problems he sees within the Electoral College, McKee still encourages everyone to vote. McKee said Alaska is unique in the fact that there are elections decided by a handful of votes.

“I would always encourage people to go vote,” McKee said. “Yeah, there are particular races they don’t think either one would be in their best interest they can always write somebody in, but I wouldn’t throw everybody out. We saw in rural Alaska, Dean Westlake beat Benjamin Nageak by one or two votes. Every vote, really in Alaska, every vote does count. My uncle won his second re-election by one vote, so in Alaska, I would say every vote really does count. So if they don’t like one person I would still encourage them to show up and vote for the other tickets.”

Alaska may only contribute three votes to the electoral college, but Republicans and Democrats have a way of selecting those electors in a way that enables anyone who wants to participate starting at the local level to apply for the position.

October 30, 2016 Brenda Craig

Elections come with great responsibility for residents in the community. While national voting is going on, it is also important to remember to vote locally. Elections in the community are a large part of what happens in our daily lives, especially in Alaska. It is essential to understand the ballot measures before voting and how it can impact the community. With the recent budget cuts to the University, ballot measure two is focusing on the future students of Alaska.

According to the Official Election Pamphlet 2016, this measure will fundamentally change section eight of the Alaska Constitution to, “expand the state’s authority to incur debt by letting the state issue general obligation bonds backed by the state for secondary student loans.”

Currently, the revenue source the state uses is for infrastructure, housing loans and military. The goal is to add state-sponsored student loans, which will give students reduced interest rates on loans while costing nothing for state and taxpayers. Though this is a complicated process, Rep. Les Gara explains the procedure of this measure.

“It’s complex, but it depends very much on the bond market, and if the bond market isn’t favorable enough for the state to use a bond to reduce loan rates, the state won’t issue the bond,” Gara said. “If it is favorable and will reduce loan rates, the bond would be issued.”

As of now, these bonds are not allowed by statute because they require a Constitutional amendment.

“Under the Alaska Constitution General Obligation Bonds are allowed for construction projects, certain veterans services, but not for loan rate reduction,” Gara said. “The measure would change that to allow these bonds to be used for student loan rate reductions too.”

Ballot measure two is especially important for future students attending universities in Alaska. It will encourage potential college students to stay in state and attend a university in the community. Patrick FitzGerald, campaign manager at Harriet Drummond for State House, depicts the impact this measure could have on students.

“This has the ability to impact students and universities in the state. If Measure two passes, high school graduates will be eligible to take a student loan from the state for in-state education,” FitzGerald said.

Alaskans would be able to invest in themselves for training in skilled and high wage jobs if there were affordable financing for college and career trainings. This measure would increase access to education and training and minimize student debt.

“People deserve [an] opportunity, if you want to go to college, money should not be a barrier. In a small way, this helps students incur less debt, which is good, student loan debt is the second highest debt Americans carry behind a mortgage,” Gara said.

By decreasing student loans with minimum interest rates in the state, it is predicted that students will choose to stay in state for further education. This proposition would be beneficial for upcoming students. If student loans and debt are not reduced, it could result in negative results for the state’s economy.

“We need a university where students want to go, not one students won’t choose,” Gara said. “Losing good students to outside schools means we will damage our future workforce and economy because students who leave [the] state for school may never come back.”

It is important for residents of Alaska to participate in local elections. The future depends on decisions the community makes, and students are encouraged to vote to create better opportunities.

“Students should vote to create avenues for themselves in the future,” FitzGerald said, “As a recent graduate, job and career availability is very important and having a voice in deciding where time and effort to create job and career opportunities is a paramount concern of mine as it should be for everyone wanting a job or career in Alaska.”

Knowing what the propositions are in detail before voting is crucial in making a decision that will affect the community. Ballot measure two has positive objectives to provide a better solution and opportunity for Alaskans. Increasing access to education and training, while minimizing student debt would create efficient citizens in the community. Ballot measure two could be a beneficial solution to student debt, without costing the State or taxpayers, or increasing state budget.

October 30, 2016 Victoria Petersen

November’s election offers Alaskans the opportunity to combine voter registration with PFD registration. The ballot measure makes it so when residents register for their Permanent Fund Dividend, they also register themselves to vote. The ballot measure will affect all those of voting age. It is estimated by state officials that the total costs of measure…

October 24, 2016 Cheyenne Mathews

Cost of attendance, or an estimate of a student’s budget, for a full-time (24+ credits) student living on campus at UAA is calculated at $25,098 by the University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance. $1,176 of that estimate is dedicated to student fees. UAA students pay a variety of different fees for athletics and recreation, the…