The Edge Update: University of Alaska tuition increase, Donald Trump and Leonard Cohen

On Thursday, Nov. 10, the University of Alaska Board of Regents approved a five percent increase in tuition for students in the UA system during the 2017-18 academic year. The increase is in response to the university’s continuing budget cuts. The measure was approved by an 8-2 vote during a meeting at UAF. Even with the increase, undergrad tuition will still be below the average of other universities in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

President-elect Donald Trump announced Friday that Mike Pence would be replacing Chris Christie as head of his transition planning team. The demotion likely stems from the controversy surrounding “Bridgegate” an incident from 2013 in which Christie’s staff and allies colluded to create traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge, an act of political revenge against a New Jersey who failed to endorse Christie. This, as well as the failure to support Trump in key moments of his campaign were probably significant factors that played a role in Trump’s decision. Christie will remain in a smaller role as a vice-chairman. Trump has about two months to select his 15-member cabinet- among the names that have surfaced as favorites are former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Reclusive poet, author and musician Leonard Cohen passed away on Thursday, Nov. 10. A recording artist with a career spanning five decades, Cohen used a classical guitar and a deep, resonant voice to explore themes of faith, sexuality and despair. He is most famous for originating the song “Hallelujah,” a track which has been covered over 200 times and has become a standard in contemporary pop music. Cohen was born to Jewish parents in Montreal in 1934. He graduated from McGill University in 1956 with a degree in English, marking the beginning of a period of drift in his life. He spent the mid-sixties shacked up on the Greek island of Hydra, where he published a pair of novels. Although commercial failures at the time, they would go on to sell millions of copies. Discouraged by his lack of literary success, and badly in need in need of money, Cohen turned to songwriting. Within months, his work was being recorded by other artists; a year after that, in 1967, he released his first album. Cohen was known for his deep introversion and interest in spirituality. In 1994, he entered a Buddhist monastery and became ordained as a monk, where he remained for five years. After suing his manager for defrauding him of millions of dollars in 2005, Cohen once again turned to music to pay off his debts. His final album, “You Want It Darker” was released in October. Cohen was 82.

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Photo credit: Jian Bautista