February 2018 from Student Body President Alec Burris

Dear Seawolves,

Because USUAA is dedicated to open and transparent dialogues, we have found it necessary to respond to concerns brought forward by several former student leaders. The discussions we have must come from a place of informed understanding. The individuals who issued concerns seem to misunderstand the nuance of our ongoing work. In November of 2017, a draft resolution was brought to the Legislative Affairs Committee, and after discussion, was not brought to a vote of the Assembly. The Legislative Affairs committee recognized USUAA’s commitment to effective and strategic advocacy, and realized it would be more impactful to pass a resolution during the Spring Semester. We have had several productive conversations with current UAA students regarding this issue, and we look forward future discussion and review. I would further encourage any current or former student leaders to attend USUAA Assembly Meetings to engage in a direct discussion with the USUAA Assembly.

While this topic has been a portion of our advocacy this semester, we have also focused on several key areas of student concern. On Friday, Feb. 2, the USUAA Assembly passed Resolution #18-06: Regarding the Alaska Performance Scholarship and the Alaska Education Grant by a unanimous vote. In the past two years, the Alaska State Legislature has considered cutting these programs which provide valuable financial aid to our students. While I encourage you to read our resolution at usuaa.org, it can be summarized by one clause:

“The Union of Students of the University of Alaska Anchorage unequivocally supports the continuation of the APS and AEG being funded through the Alaska Higher Education Fund.”

In the coming months, USUAA will do everything in its power to defend these programs on behalf of UAA students. We recognize the importance they play in ensuring the ability for our students to able to attend UAA and will not allow them to be trivialized by state politics.

Defending the APS and AEG is something we cannot do alone. We need you. If you are a recipient of the APS or AEG, please either contact me at usuaa.president@alaska.edu or contact your legislators directly, whose information can be found at akleg.gov. If we truly believe in the ability for all Alaskans to have access to high-quality and affordable education, we must speak up.

Defend Your APS and AEG!

Regards,

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Alec Burris

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