July 2017 message from USUAA President Alec Burris

Come celebrate 30 years!
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Photo credit: Alec Burris

While I can’t say that I have escaped getting sunburnt this summer, I can say that meaningful progress has been made to improve the student experience at UAA. With just over a month till the start of the fall semester, I have been working very closely with the administration to begin fulfilling the promises I made during my campaign.

Security cameras – On June 22, Channel 2 KTUU became interested in our efforts to add more security camera at UAA and wrote a story on it, which can be found here. Since then, I have been reassured by both Vice Chancellor Pat Shier and UPD Chief Brad Munn that in the very near future we will be able install cameras in the areas of our campus that need them the most.

Student fees – Following a meeting with all of the directors in the areas receiving student fees, I requested a report from each department by July 14 with the following information:

1. What mechanisms exist to evaluate student satisfaction with your fee?

2. What mechanisms exist for student input for your student fee?

3. What mechanisms are utilized to raise student awareness of your fee?

After receiving these reports, I have begun compiling this information and will soon determine how we will proceed to make student fees as transparent as we can. Additionally, I am working with the Student Affairs office to create a brochure for new students that details what student fees they are charged and what they are used for.

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Advocacy – With the passing of an operating budget by the Alaska State Legislature that funds the University of Alaska System for $317 million, I am sufficiently satisfied that UAA students will be negatively impacted to the least degree possible. With our efforts relating to the Legislature ending for time being, I am looking forward to meeting with USUAA’s Legislative Affairs Committee to determine how we will advocate for UAA students to the Board of Regents at their meetings during the fall semester.

Title IX – It cannot be overstated that students deserve the opportunity to gain an education in an environment where they feel safe. To this end, it is my opinion that USUAA can best aid UAA’s Equity and Compliance Office by ensuring that students are well informed regarding issues such as bystander intervention, and that they understand the resources that are available to them on our campus. On July 17, I met with Bridget Coffou, UAA’s new Title IX Prevention Education Coordinator, and discussed their new Seawolves Speak Up campaign and other methods by which we can reach students.

With the academic year approaching fast, I remain confident that USUAA is prepared to represent the students on our campus. USUAA has three strategic values: service, advocacy and self-governance. These values guide the work that I do as I lead USUAA, and will remain the guiding principles as we represent students at UAA, the Board of Regents, and the Alaska State Legislature. It is my firm belief that students have a duty to be involved in their education, and there is no better time than now to prove that.

Alec Burris, Student Body President

Email: usuaa.president@alaska.edu

Phone: (907) 715-2177