Category: Opinion

October 30, 2016 Michael Thomas

Election time is coming in the United States and with this year’s election being frustrating for many Americans, the best way to change things is to go down to the ballot box and vote. The right to vote has sparked revolutions throughout history. The United States fought for independence from the British Empire for this…

October 30, 2016 Lee Piltz

Every four years, the United States of America must make a very important choice. This choice is one that will shape our nation for the following four years. It is election time in the good old USA, and plenty of people will be heading to the polls to cast their votes. However, there are a…

October 17, 2016 Cheyenne Mathews

How do you talk to a woman wearing headphones? That’s a question self-proclaimed ‘dating expert’ Dan Bacon answered back in 2013. The advice he had for men who wanted to talk to a female with headphones on was, “Stand in front of her (with 1 to 1.5 meters between you). Have a confident, easy-going smile…

October 2, 2016 Lee Piltz

Governor Bill Walker announced Sept. 23 that the amount of the Permanent Fund Dividend would be cut from $2,052 to $1,022. This has upset many Alaskans despite the fact that the money being cut out of the PFD will go toward reducing Alaska’s multi-billion dollar budget deficit. There are heated arguments on both sides of…

September 12, 2016 Kathryn Dufresne

I realize you’re a busy man, and I realize life can’t be easy right now. The Board of Regents needs you to make budget cuts, the Alaska State Legislature won’t give you the money you need to maintain every facet of your university system and you’ve now subjected yourself to students, faculty and community members…

July 26, 2016 Casey Peterson
Photo credit: Jian Bautista

There is an idea out there that says that when we seek to conserve or restore something in nature, we are actually only trying to restore it to some previous state that we can remember. For example, say we have been exploiting a forest for lumber for nearly 100 years. 100 years reaches well beyond our memory, and we do not have any idea what the forest was once like, instead we might only remember it back 20 or 30 years. It is decided that we are going to stop logging in that forest and attempt to rehabilitate it to it’s former glory. That former glory is dictated by our memory of the forest that may extend back 30 years ago. As a result, we restore the forest, but only back to what is was in the 1980s, the 70 years prior to that are lost to human memory and we do not fully restore the forest to what it was 100 years before, right at the point we began logging it for lumber. This idea is called shifting baseline.

Shifting baseline applies to everything, including the fishing industry. Say boats have been fishing out of Kenai for the past 60 years, and in our effort to keep the ocean and rivers stocked with salmon, we decide to open a fish hatchery that is meant to help replenish the fish that are taken out for commercial and personal use every year. Chances are we might be doing just that, however, are we putting enough fish in to account for the total number of salmon 60 years ago?

Ideas like genetically modified fish aim to make sure that we do not over-fish the populations in our rivers and oceans. The idea is simple: create a genetically superior fish that is able to be raised in a hatchery or fish farm in half the time (or faster) of wild salmon. This takes stress off the fish populations that populate rivers and the ocean and allow them to reclaim some of their previous strength. While we may not avoid a shifted baseline all together, we give the salmon a better chance to reclaim some of their former glory.

These genetically modified fish have been labeled ‘frankenfish’ by those that oppose it, and I am one to argue that this might be a fitting name. After all in the famous Mary Shelley book, the monster that Dr. Frankenstein created in many ways is larger, smarter and physically more impressive than any Human 1.0 (referencing the book and not any movie adaptation in which the monster seems dumber than normal humans). The frankenfish grow faster and are ready to be shipped to the market in a fraction of the time. In many ways, frankenfish are superior to Salmon 1.0.

Alaskan lawmakers love to run under a banner of opposing frankenfish, and the opposition to GMO salmon is on both sides of the isle. This should serve as an idea where most Alaskan’s stand on the issue.

A few of the arguments against the implement of GMO salmon is that the ‘frankensteined’ population of salmon could get loose into the general population and out-compete the Salmon 1.0 population over resources as well as out breed them. The first of these arguments is valued and very legitimate. The GMO salmon may pose a danger to stressing the salmon’s food sources. The best defense against this issue would be to keep the frankenfish in fish farms as securely as possible.

The idea that they might out breed the natural salmon, however, is not a very good argument. Frankenfish are bred to be a complete population of sterile female salmon. In other words, they will be unable to have offspring at all.

What about Jurassic Park? In that movie, the entire population was suppose to be said to be female and unable to reproduce, yet some how nature found a way and in the end, the dinosaurs were able to reproduce. Jurassic Park is a great movie, however, evolution does not happen on such a quick scale. Hundreds of thousands of years usually have to pass before a population in a single species can evolve to change something about their population. As anyone that has taken high school level biology can attest, we need not worry about the frankenfish population finding a magical way to start breeding.

Now for a few arguments in favor of the frankenfish, apart from the fact that they would take stress off the normal salmon population, which is a huge reason itself. The population of the world is by no means getting smaller. By 2050, the world’s population is projected to be 9.7 billion people, double what we are at now. Many scientist believe that while we could viably feed the population of today, we do not. Millions of people today are currently living with starvation. What happens when we have twice as many mouths to feed? We will need to have some food sources for everyone. GMO salmon could be one of the helpful solutions that we could employ to make sure that we are feeding everyone.

The GMO fish also help keep the grocery bill lower, which few people would complain about. This does pose a concern over jobs, however I would argue that wild caught salmon could simply label themselves as “organic” which we all know is a hot selling point these days.

Those reason may not be enough for some people, and I understand that. The truth is, the possibility that a GMO salmon population could find its way into the normal fish population and out compete them for food is a scary concern, and one I share with those opposed to frankenfish. An alternative to the frankenfish is on the table. A GMO feeder fish that is meant to help the salmon population grow and contain more omegas and all the other good stuff we want from our salmon. The feeder fish would also be intended to be contained to farms and would too be sterile. If they were loosed into the natural population, they could not breed, and would provide nutrition for the wild salmon.

While this solution is not foolproof, it is something that can help maintain a valid population and avoid a shifting baseline for our salmon. It will provide food for a growing population, and it will keep the Alaskan lawmakers happy as they can keep standing on a platform that opposes frankenfish.

April 28, 2016 Kelly Ireland

It was August of 2013 and I received a copy of the Freshmen Edition of The Northern Light newspaper at my home address in Eagle River. Skimming the paper, I saw an ad for the position of Arts and Entertainment Editor and immediately applied. Three years later, a promotion to Executive Editor, and many memories…

April 10, 2016 Kelly Ireland

Dear Alaska State Legislators, Seven of my 16 staff are able to go to school because of the Alaska Performance Scholarship. Without it each of us probably wouldn’t have come to UAA or stayed in Alaska. On behalf of my staff and myself, I thank all of you in the senate finance committee who decided…

March 20, 2016 Kathryn Dufresne

As the chair of the University of Alaska subcommittee, Rep. Tammie Wilson holds the future of over 32,000 students in her hands, and yet she is proposing some of the deepest cuts in UA system history. Wilson proposed $288 million for a general funding level for the UA system, then upped it to $300 million,…

February 28, 2016 Kathryn Casello

The Dr. Luke vs. Kesha battle is in full swing (and yes, she changed her name back to the regular spelling while she was in rehab). The latest installment of the legal battle rooted in sexual assault allegations against Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald) features Judge Shirley Kornreich denying Kesha’s request for a temporary injunction. Just to clarify, the injunction in this case is a restraining order — Kesha was requesting that the man who allegedly coerced her into dropping out of high school, drugged and raped her, emotionally abused her until she developed an eating disorder and went into rehab, and is now claiming Kesha is making all of this up just to get out of her contract, stay away from her.

Even after reading all 94 pages of the court proceedings for the injunction the entire legal situation is still confusing and unsettling. The court proceedings detail a pretty weak legal defense for Kesha and a strangely dismissive testimony from Dr. Luke’s representative. (Note: he’s not actually a doctor.) The most effective lawyer apparently was Sony’s representative, who was insistent that the interests of Sony are to maintain Dr. Luke’s position as a profit-generating machine, and, oh yeah, also to protect Kesha, I guess.

Hidden in defensive rhetoric from Sony and Dr. Luke’s lawyers was a vague offer to allow Kesha to work with a different producer, and as Kesha’s attorney rightly pointed out, is a suggestion was both unclear and unenforceable. Sony has no incentive to carry out their own loose suggestion because no profit-making strategy would allow an artist to switch producers when her initial producer creates multi-million-dollar hits. Ultimately, Kesha is definitely not free. She’s stuck working for a company that sides with and protects her alleged abuser, who is still legally permitted to produce at least six of Kesha’s songs in any upcoming album, while profiting from any of the work she does.

It is important to have a basic understanding of how contract law works. There needs to be a significant breach of the contract for it to be invalidated, which dictates that the burden of proof was overwhelmingly placed on Kesha. Secondarily, Kesha had to prove that she would suffer ‘irreparable harm’ if she would have to continue to stay within the bounds of her contract, which is pretty difficult to prove anytime, especially when you’re fighting against one of the most powerful companies in the music industry. Sony and Dr. Luke’s strategy was crafty and successful, discrediting Kesha’s story and assuring everyone that they will totally still support Kesha, they won’t make any legal promises, but you should take their word for it.

The reason that this strategy works so well is because of the social environment and context that this situation is unfolding in. American consumer culture collectively gravitates towards questioning the credibility of Kesha’s claims even though an estimated 2-8 percent of rapes are ever provably false, and Kesha stands to gain very little from falsely accusing; pop stars have a very replaceable status within the music industry, along with the social backlash that a person receives from speaking up about assault, regardless of if it’s true.

Even if you think Kesha is lying, at this point it doesn’t matter because the decision has been made. Sony’s representative appeared to be much more concerned about the potential harm done to contractual relationships instead of the actual harm alleged by Kesha.

December 6, 2015 Nolin Ainsworth


Something is wrong when I hear more stories about graduates not bothering going to their commencement than those who do.

When did receiving recognition for an accomplishment go out of fashion? I’m the type of person that revels in accomplishments – both big and small. Seeing as I’m still working toward my degree, most of them up to this point in my life have been small. I know this because I hold on to all them – including a beleaguered bowling pin in my closet bearing my name and an old date in Sharpie for having the highest score on the last day of a youth bowling camp. I also keep an old shoebox under my bed with cheap plastic soccer trophies I won as a 7-year-old just to remind myself that I’m a winner. Same with old birthday cards from relatives that reaffirm I’m unique. It may just be the packrat in me, or it may be the fact that I like to hold on to good memories.

If you YouTube commencement speeches, you’ll get a bunch of ones from Harvard and Dartmouth where some famous person who didn’t go to that college offers up their recipe for success. Here in Alaska, we can’t attract top-talent to be our commencement speaker, but whose to say we want to? The closer to home our speaker is, the more clout they should have with us. Struggling out of bed in the cold and dark at 9 a.m. is one of the many signature experiences every college student in Alaska has the pleasure of enduring. A commencement speech given by a fellow Seawolf will undoubtedly strike at least one chord with you … unless you just transferred up last semester from Hawaii.

At this point, you’re probably thinking of a counterargument to my stance like my colleague Mr. Burns. Excuses like, “it costs too much money, Nolin!” or “it’s just for my family” just won’t cut it. What is an extra $50 to buy a cap and gown when you just unloaded $40,000 on your education? If you have siblings who graduated, chances are their gown is tucked away in some closet waiting to see the daylight on at least one more occasion. So what if Mom and Aunt Martha make a big deal out of this stuff… Even if you could care less, “walk” out of your love for them. After all, if it wasn’t for family support, not many of us would even be graduating college in the first place. Remember the care packages, the Thanksgiving trips home, all the love shown over the last four years. This is your opportunity to do something nice in return for them. It means a lot more than we even realize.

Who knows? It could even be the time of your life! When else will confetti rain down over you a la an Alaskan snow storm but without the cold and wind in your face?

See you there.


“Why aren’t you going to walk for commencement?” It’s a question that every student who doesn’t walk at commencement gets asked incessantly by people who aren’t the person graduating. There are other reasons not to walk other than being harassed by busybodies, and if you choose to save yourself two hours of grief, you shouldn’t have to defend your choices.

Graduating students get sorted alphabetically into their seats and get to sit through a two hour ceremony before their thirty seconds of fame. The commencement ceremony is always a dry affair, students get showered in generalities by a variety of university bigwigs they haven’t met, telling you how proud they are of you for contributing to the graduation rate and their sincere hope that you live productive lives, full of happiness and regular contributions to the alumni organization.

You get to hear the commencement speakers give a series of interchangeable speeches. You will hear “what an honor it is to speak to you,” about how you should “follow your dreams,” and “always keep learning” while “passing it forward” as you “question everything” because “the future is in your hands.” If you miss this part of the ceremony, I recommend looking at the motivational pictures on your aunt’s Facebook wall or opening a bunch of fortune cookies for an equivalent education in trite, vaguely-applicable life advice.

Last, and possibly least comes your 30 seconds of excitement, you have your name read, you get to walk to the stage, get a handshake, and a piece of paper while the whole stadium cheers for you. Well, cheers is a strong word, everyone else isn’t here to see you graduate, they are there to see their loved ones walk, and happen to be polite enough to clap while they wait to hear a name they recognize.

You will miss a chance to spend your Sunday, waiting around for hours with people you don’t know, having spent $50 on robes you can never wear outside of Halloween, all for 30 seconds. It’s like waiting in line at midnight for the newest Harry Potter book, but instead of getting to enter a magical world of friendship and adventure, you get a receipt confirming your purchase of a college education a week earlier than you would have gotten otherwise.

What about the memories? College makes, according to the vast majority of people who have gone, some of their fondest memories. Won’t you miss out on that by skipping commencement? You might remember playing video games until six in the morning, the time you crammed a semester’s worth of studying for missed classes, or completing a 20 page paper, or your first love and first loss. You’ll fondly recall friends, relationships, and experiences. You won’t ever fondly look back on sitting through commencement. If someone thinks that commencement is important, ask them how often they think of it. Ask them the name of who sat next to them, what their commencement speaker said, and which faculty members handed them their diploma. The answers will be telling.

Regardless of what you choose, remember that YOU choose. You didn’t spend the past 4 years becoming an adult, to not be able to decide for yourself.

October 21, 2015 Kelly Ireland

As a journalist I’m told to keep my opinion private, to not let anyone on to my beliefs, but a man named Bernie Sanders has caught my attention and I’m not ready to be quiet about how much I believe in him. For those of you who don’t know, he’s a democratic hopeful for the…

October 21, 2015 Nathan Burns

In my official capacity as just some guy, I’m told that I shouldn’t have deeply held opinions about complex issues that I have no knowledge of. But a man named Donald Trump taught me that shouldn’t stop me from yelling them at people, whether they want to hear it or not. For those of you…

October 5, 2015 Samantha Davenport

Chris Harper-Mercer walked into Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon with six guns. Upon entering the classroom, he shot the professor point blank. He fired several shots at the class. Mercer demanded students that were Christian to stand up. He pointed his weapon at them and told them it was good that they were Christian, because they were about to see God. He killed them.

Lucero Alcaraz.
Quinn Glen Cooper.
Kim Saltmarsh Dietz.
Lucas Eibel.
Jason Dale Johnson.
Lawrence Levine.
Sarena Dawn Moore.
Treven Taylor Anspach.
Rebecka Ann Carnes.

These are the names of the nine people that were killed by Mercer. Seven others were injured. During his presidency, Barack Obama has had to address the nation 15 different times pertaining to gun massacres.

People who were simply going to a movie, getting their hair done, running a marathon, pursuing their education or attending church are now dead. America is not willing to address the disgusting problem we have.
America has become numb to this violence. There is a systematic chain of events for emotional destruction such as this. News reports will break out about another mass shooting. The number of deaths will slowly rise. Families will come forward with broken hearts and pictures of their loved ones, their brothers, their children. Politicians will debate about gun violence and the ties to mental health. The president will speak out for the sixteenth, seventeenth, or eighteenth time in his terms about how this is not normal.

President Barack Obama came out for his routine speech on Thursday. “I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again during my tenure as president, to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances, but based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that. And that’s terrible to say. It can change.”
What is wrong with America? What is the sickness that has swept over this nation?


The United States is roughly 5% of the world’s population. America also holds 42% of the world’s private firearms.

Do you see the connection?

Unfortunately, America has become normalized to this grotesque violence. We don’t have to take all of the guns away, but we can definitely make some changes.

“It’s my right to own a gun. It says so in the Constitution.”

The second amendment was created hundreds of years ago. Back in the day, America was a new country. There was a fear that the United States would be invaded, like Britain was. Of course it would make sense that everyone was entitled to own a gun.

Our founding fathers would have no idea what guns would turn into. If you’ve ever gotten hold of a flintlock pistol, it’s obvious that they aren’t as advanced as an AR-15. The pistol takes about 20+ seconds to load and shoot, if you’ve practiced. When gunpowder gets wet, it’s effectively useless.

An AR-15 can fire 700-900 rounds a minute (fully automatic version). Compare that to the 1776 muskets and flintlocks that could fire three rounds a minute if used by a regular shooter.

According to Rolling Stone, the Oregon shooting is the 264th mass shooting of the year. (A mass shooting is described as having a minimum of four gunshot victims, excluding the shooter.)

Numbers and statistics speak for themselves.

That’s the problem, and Barack is right.

It can change.

September 4, 2015 Samantha Davenport

I don’t try to get involved in politics. Wow, everyone says that, I get it. Really, though. I ignore Facebook fights about abortion or Twitter scraps between Donald Trump and anyone he feels threatened by. Instead, I watch from the sidelines, scrolling through people’s ridiculous statements for entertainment while snacking on popcorn. When I heard…

April 29, 2015 George Hyde

For seniors: What do you plan to do after graduation? For alumni: What did you do after graduation? Chloe Akers Senior Languages, Theatre “After graduation, I just want to hug my parents and thank them for everything they’ve done and continue to do for me. I have them to thank for giving me the best…

April 14, 2015 Contributor

Editorial by Danielle Ackerman,

As a lifetime Alaskan who was educated only in public schools and married into a family full of educators, I feel an immense obligation to express my concern regarding the outrageous and acutely influential budget cuts that our public schools could face. Closing the potential $29.4 million budget gap will force the Anchorage School District to cut more than 100 teacher positions. While there would be cuts in most programs in the school district, I believe the elimination of teacher positions will be the most detrimental. By all means, I can recognize the necessity of a balanced budget, and I understand there are economic realities that our state is facing, but there is no exception for this drastic of a cut that will affect so many people.

The elimination of more than 100 educators in our public schools will not only affect the livelihood of educators and their families, but most of all, the students. There is an abundant number of students who are already not meeting their potential due to the shortage of employees and larger-than-normal classrooms.

I know of many new teachers who are very concerned for their positions, as they were recently hired and are not considered “tenured.” There are numerous graduates every year who have just earned their bachelor’s degree in education and will be subject to unemployment and or taking a job that they are overqualified for due to these cuts. Before any decision is made, I hope that there are changes made in order to strengthen our investment in public education and make sure that all students have an even playing field.

The formula that has been used is in need of reform. Obviously this will not be an easy task, nor will it happen overnight. Our public schools will need strong leadership and collective will power in order to prioritize education, as it should be. There is truly nothing more important than ensuring that our future leaders are educated.

April 14, 2015 Contributor

Editorial by Maria Lilly,

Students on campuses around the United States and around the world are finding themselves in the middle of a rhetorical struggle between two competing groups: anti-Israel groups and pro-Israel groups.  For our purposes I would like to focus on two particular groups from opposite sides of the issue: Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

Students for Justice in Palestine’s name claims to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine. But in effect SJP is more a slander platform. On campuses SJP chapters criminalize the State of Israel with claims Israel is an apartheid state.

Christians United for Israel’s On Campus division combats such rhetoric with fact-based advocacy. They argue with legitimate sources, intellectually undeniable facts and first hand accounts that Israel is in fact not an apartheid state because fundamentally Israel does not meet any of the requirements set to define apartheid in South Africa.

Rather than being a state endorsing racism, in Israel citizens of every ethnicity, gender and religion are allowed to vote and hold office. Israel welcomes immigrants from all over the world. All people are afforded equal rights under a democratic government, including women, a rare occurrence in the Middle East. Rather than forbidding mixed racial marriages, Israel welcomes them and is one country in the Middle East where same-sex couples are not threatened with death for their sexual orientation.

Unlike in the case of apartheid South Africa, all Israelis are invited to freely participate in the economy; all people are free to own property. When it comes to land ownership the ones segregated against are actually Israeli citizens, their government forced them out of land which historically and legally is their own, in an attempt to both protect Israelis from those who wish to kill them as well as in hopes of achieving a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

The argument that Israel is an apartheid state, emotionally arousing rhetoric, is simply empty.

Apartheid in South Africa was a globally recognized atrocity involving segregation, legal and economic inequality. It was blatant, unadulterated racism in its most purely evil form. Apartheid is a noun meant to make every man’s skin crawl. To associate apartheid with the state of Israel is an insult to all humanity and most especially to South Africans and the South Africans’ struggles for freedom.

Associating a free and democratic state with an institution which wronged and abused thousands because of racism ultimately results in the negation of what apartheid is and how it looks. It is the dissolution of justice in valid cases of racism and a discredit to every person who has ever faced racism. It is the equivalent of spitting in the face of Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King Jr., giants who looked racism in the face challenged it and suffered for the cause of justice.

By contrast the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the groups governing the Palestinian territories, persecute, discriminate against, confiscate without just cause the property of and even kill Christians, homosexuals, and anyone who disagrees with regime policy. They murder those brave enough to defend their right to free speech and independent thought. Those who have the courage to speak out.

According to the Institute of Black Solidarity with Israel, Palestinian territories honor killings are up 300 percent just over the past year. The Palestinian government receives funding not only from countries like the United States but also the selling and trading of African refugees as slaves.  The Palestinian government surrounds her people, including young children, with anti-Jew propaganda. They call for the ethnic cleansing of all Jews, and socialize their children to believe such action would be just. They simultaneously deny the Holocaust and laud Adolf Hitler.

Students for Justice in Palestine claims to defend a victimized Palestine when in fact, as an organization it demonizes democracy, freedom and equality while tolerating and justifying the massacre of innocents by their government. SJP defends persecution and murder of minorities, the criminalization of free speech, modern slavery, interfamilial murder, as well as a corrupt judicial system.

Students for Justice in Palestine uses misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric to disguise their funding and support of human rights violations. Christians United for Israel endeavors to use truth as a catalyst for the promotion of critical thinking and a knowledge based point of view of Israel’s and the Palestinians’ situation in the world.

Apartheid in the Middle East is not in Israel, it is in Palestine, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Justice would be criminalizing the criminals not attacking democracy.

So why then is SJP finding wide support on the campuses of our nation? Our Universities, which of all the places in the world, ought to be the greatest defenders of intellectual integrity, truth and social justice are being hijacked and our students’ very human urge to fight injustice is being taken advantage of.

Our Universities should not be standing in solidarity with injustice for Palestine. Rather America and her Universities ought to be actively defending justice’s cause.

April 7, 2015 Kierra Hammons

On April 6, 2013, likely the most wonderful person I’ve ever met was stabbed to death. He was a friend, a son, a brother — and he was a Seawolf. I believe I was one of the last people to see him, and I want to tell you my story — his story, what happened…

March 29, 2015 Contributor

By Nick Black,

Being a college student is exciting and challenging — it also can be a bit nerve-wracking as graduation gets closer. Considering how depressed our economy has been, is it any wonder? Even as reports have started to highlight slightly rosier circumstances, college graduates are still struggling to find their footing in these new conditions. This is why college is now a time for trepidation, as well as intrepidness.

Being a student in Alaska — a proud Seawolf — makes these feelings even more intense. Our futures are intricately linked with the future of our state overall, and so also with the future of energy. This is because our state is one of the greatest resources for domestic energy in the country, and encouraging its responsible exploration and development is key to the future of energy, and also of our state. Energy means jobs, opportunities, and revenue, especially in Alaska.

Consider that between the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and U.S. Arctic waters, there is an estimated nearly 40 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which could heat America’s homes for decades to come. For Alaskans, these resources could increase revenues for the state and help fund our state universities and colleges – programs that have been cut in recent years due to lower oil production and lower state revenues.

Exploring these supplies would increase our stability and security, lower costs for consumers, provide billions in new revenues, and create tens of thousands of jobs. And jobs are critical to students like me. In fact, my friends who are pursuing petroleum engineering degrees are truly dependent upon whether the energy industry is encouraged or discouraged. We all are. If the energy industry is not encouraged, the entire Alaskan economy would be doomed — and my friends and I could be forced to leave our home state in search of opportunities elsewhere.

Frustratingly, the administration’s recent decisions are not encouraging. Proposing a leasing plan that bans development in large swaths of U.S. Arctic waters, as well as a drilling ban in resource-rich areas of ANWR, strangles our domestic energy production, and chokes our futures. The President should have spent time consulting with those directly impacted, those of us who live and work — and hope to work! — in Alaska.

In fact, he should have consulted with his Departments of Labor and Commerce too. Both have highlighted the amount of Americans still out of work, despite the rising number of new job openings, pointing out that much of this can be explained by a gap in skills. This is especially true in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) that my friends and I love. It’s difficult to encourage students to choose these fields though, when the future of an important industry related to these fields is in doubt thanks to Administration policies.

The truth is, it is about all of our futures. The energy industry is critical to not just students like me who hope to pursue careers at home, not just to the great state of Alaska, but also to all Americans. Our futures are linked via this vital resource. It is time for energy exploration and development to be encouraged — for all of us.

Nick Black is a student at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

March 19, 2015 Contributor

Universities across the country are aiming to create what UAA has already had for decades. Let’s not fall behind, but rather continue to lead.

I was a student at UAA’s Tanaina Child Development Center over 30 years ago. The skills I learned at Tanaina as a small child have been the basis of my entire education. The fellow children I met are still some of my closest friends today. I have heard that the university is moving and possibly cutting support for this essential part of any healthy, well-functioning campus community. This would be a serious mistake with long-term consequences.

High quality childcare that is located on campus and reasonably priced is essential for young faculty, staff and students to fully participate in campus life. When I became a tenure track professor myself at a well-respected college, I ended up leaving the position in part because the school had neither on-campus daycare, nor decent parental leave.

Programs like Tanaina also give children the grounding they need to succeed in life. It is a win-win. Now that I am a parent, I realize it is rare to find childcare as high quality as Tanaina anywhere. UAA’s Child Development Center should be getting awards, not the boot.

I strongly encourage the University to keep Tanaina on-campus and to invest in Tanaina and the UAA community that depends on it.

— Monica Aufrecht

Tanaina Alumna

February 26, 2015 Kierra Hammons

At the Feb. 20 Board of Regents Meeting at Gorsuch Commons, the University of Alaska Board of Regents voted 8-2 to raise tuition at UA schools by 5 percent. On social media, some students expressed grief at the tuition hike. But before the vote, regents had heard very little from students regarding their pending decision.

During the meeting, UA President Pat Gamble and Regent Courtney Enright emphasized the lack of student voices regarding the issue. During the public testimony sessions of the Board of Regents meetings held last Thursday and Friday, students, faculty and community members stepped up to the mic to voice their passions regarding the Tanaina Child Development Center, the facilities fee and budget concerns. Yet no one commanded the floor to contest the pending raise in tuition, which was voted against last September before the dip in oil prices.

Enright said that students had not called, emailed or otherwise contacted her to plead otherwise, and this informed her decision to vote in favor of the increase.

There are a few reasons why students would not voice their opinions, even if increased tuition would be a detriment to their university experience.

Many take low tuition for granted. The regents’ September vote offered a false sense of long-lasting security regarding tuition. But dead motions can be reintroduced — and in this case, passed just a few months later.

Other students assume their case is simply obvious: What student would want tuition to go up? But what we communicate amongst ourselves as students doesn’t always make it to the upper ranks of regents.

Another kind of student may think his or her opinion doesn’t count, and that student input is irrelevant to the decisions the powerful regents make. But as Gamble and Enright pointed out — it does count.

No drop of water ever fathomed being an ocean, but each bit is treasured in the desert. For those who are silent, the absence of their disagreement suggests acquiescence. Each person — silent and vocal alike — speaks simply by existing at all. But even the smallest of voices ring loud and clear in a desert devoid of opinion. This is what the regents were looking for last Friday.

The topic of tuition has multiple viewpoints and valid arguments on every side. But it is unfair to sit back and hope others will do the talking. It’s impossible to have a legitimate democratic process with an immobilized public.

Find out what matters to you and fight for it, no matter what side you’re on. Know the power and value of your perspective, because acquiescence isn’t enough.

February 18, 2015 George Hyde

Austin Bauer Freshman Music Education “I personally would cut funding to student loans. There are many scholarship opportunities, so we as students should take advantage of them. Diane Abad Sophomore Accounting “I would cut the programs and events that I think are unnecessary, so that the budget for those could go to expanding the parking…

February 18, 2015 Kelly Ireland

With the recent release of the prioritization report plans for an expanded Seawolf Hockey area in the Wells Fargo Sports Complex has been announced. The current plans will account for the loss of about 15% of the student recreation areas. When does the cutting of student facilities end?

With the building of the Alaska Airlines Center students were promised a workout facility and really only got a cardio room out of the deal. Students were optimistic though that the space at least added something but, then the workout facilities at the Gorsuch Commons were taken out, further reducing the space available to students to work out. And now to top it all off the Wells Fargo Sports Complex workout facility for students is being cut short again by UAA athletics.

And for what? New locker rooms, a players’ lounge (with a kitchen, fireplace and bar), a training facility, a multipurpose room, a coaches’ locker room and hydrotherapy room. And for who? Not for the students that’s for sure. It’s all for the Seawolf hockey program.

The question remains who does UAA administration really care about, the students who are breaking the bank to try to get a higher education or their precious athletic program? That’s not to say that athletics aren’t important, but UAA needs to put a higher value on ALL student needs, not just the needs of the athletic program.

February 18, 2015 Contributor

Submitted by Kyle Pace

Where do the priorities of UAA truly lie? I have been to three different prioritization meetings since last week and I don’t seem to be any closer to finding an answer to this question. Each time I listen to the Chancellor’s cabinet tell a similar story to new faces, and while that story sounds good I don’t think it is really reflective of the behind-the-scenes reality. I have heard faculty ask difficult questions about whether or not their programs were going to be cut, I have heard parents want to know whether or not their young children are going to have a future on campus, and I have listened to students wondering whether or not sustainable UAA is part of our campuses future. Every answer I have heard seems to be very general and lacking any specifics and it seems to me that those in charge do not have any concrete ideas about the future.

So where do the priorities of UAA lie? Do they lie in investing money into the small number of athletes on campus? With a brand new stadium and major improvements to the hockey teams locker rooms this looks likely. Do the priorities lie simply in the science and engineering programs? With a brand new Engineering Building and very little money to run it I wonder what the future of the humanities are on campus? Or maybe the future of UAA is a sustainable one in which we bring more local foods, renewable energy, and recycling to campus.

I think when all is said and done the big problem is communication. I am forced to speculate over the future of our campus because I simply do not know what is going on in the minds of those who will be making these decisions. It is very frustrating to be stuck in a state of limbo where nothing is certain. The only thing I know for sure right now is that we need to find a way to open lines of communication between the ones making the big decisions and the ones affected by those decisions. Transparency and communication every step of the way is key to creating a healthy atmosphere on campus during these uncertain times. I don’t expect those in charge to have all the answers but I would much rather hear them say “We just don’t know right now but we’re working on it, and here’s how you can talk to us about it” rather than hear the same form of answers time and time again.


February 11, 2015 George Hyde

1. Jose Cardenas Sophomore Electrical Engineering “Most likely a movie date. If not, I plan to hang out with friends and enjoy good company.” 2. Hannah Wandersee Freshman Biology “Hang out with friends and eat lots of chocolate!” 3. Mark Bautista Senior Music, Performance “I’ll be sitting in my pajamas, watching Netflix with a tub…

February 2, 2015 George Hyde


Logan Turner
“Iron Man. He has more technology and armor.”


Freddy Camarena
“Captain America would win because he can exploit Iron Man’s weakness in his narcissism, and bring him down with his skill.”


Tamara Van Diest
“Neither. They’d probably fight for a while and Captain America would stop because it’s pointless, and Iron Man would give up because it wouldn’t be fun anymore.”

January 29, 2015 George Hyde


Larissa Kramer
“Usually I tune in to the Super Bowl commercials, but the Puppy Bowl isn’t a bad option either.”


Josh Byrd
Electrical Engineering
“I play in a band called The Quiet Cull. We do practices on Sunday afternoons. So most likely, I’ll be making loud noises and rocking my face off.”


Dakota Lee

Computer Science
“Probably working.”

October 19, 2014 Kelly Ireland

Chances are we have all said something we wish would have never come out of our mouths. It happens to all of us. But we shouldn’t let these moments hold us back; we should use them as a learning experience. This happened earlier this month to The Northern Light’s news editor, Stephen Cress. In attempts…

September 7, 2014 Tulsi Patil

Hi My Name Is borderedIn a perfect world, rape and sexual assault victims would not be associated with terms like “slut” and “whore” and “asking for it.” But then again, in a perfect world, rape would not be a problem we would be facing on a daily basis. The situation has gotten so bad that one in every four women face sexual assault during the four years of their college career alone. Why are the numbers this stark?

Rape culture exists in our community. We perpetuate it. It is everyone’s fault. It is so deeply ingrained in our social lives that we have become blind to how we all help it fester and worsen.

Rape is almost never about lust. Rape is about exuding power over someone else. Rape functions to make the victim feel helpless and alone. It is to feel in control of someone else’s personhood.

This is where the public comes in. We give the assaulter even more power by blaming the victim, shaming the victim and trivializing the violence against them. By saying things like the victim  “was asking for it” or was “leading the perpetrator on,” we give the rapist the power they seek when he or she commits the act in the first place.

We live in a world that normalizes and trivializes rape. So what’s the result? Rape culture. Rape culture describes a society in which sexual violence is normalized because of our backward views on gender, sex and sexuality. Women and men both — but women especially — are daily victims of it.

In this way, it’s normal to trivialize rape. “What was she wearing?” and “Why did she drink that much?” are uttered far too often when a woman is the victim of sexual violence. Rape culture teaches us that the natural state of a woman is to be raped, and the natural state of a man is to rape. To be clear, men are the victims of sexual violence too. And while women are predominantly victimized, the lines get blurrier every day.

Stop blaming the victim. No one asks to be raped. No one has the right to rape.