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University of Alaska governing board moves up date to consider financial emergency

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: July 20, 2019
  • Published July 19, 2019

The University of Alaska Board of Regents on Monday will bring forward the question of whether to declare financial exigency, rather than postponing that consideration until July 30 as the body previously decided to do, UA said in a written statement Friday afternoon.

News that officials will consider the question on July 22 instead of July 30 comes two days after credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service downgraded UA’s rating by multiple notches. In its report, Moody’s called the 41% state funding cut the UA system faces “unprecedented.”

It also comes as lawmakers in Juneau have yet to reach a budget compromise.

“In light of the Moody’s announcement this week downgrading the university’s credit rating by three notches, the unresolved budget discussions in Juneau and the uncertainty of a final budget number for UA,” the statement said, Board of Regents Chair John Davies “will bring forward the question of a Declaration of Financial Exigency at the BOR meeting on Monday, July 22.”

Such a declaration would allow for expedited cuts at UA, such as speeding up the process of ending academic programs and removing tenured faculty. Also Monday, regents are set to discuss options for restructuring the university system.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed an unprecedented $130 million in funding for UA, on top of the $5 million cut approved by the Legislature. That amounts to a 41% cut to the university system’s state funding compared to last year, and roughly 17% of its overall budget.

The regents decided at their July 15 meeting to hold an emergency board meeting on July 22. The July 15 meeting is also where they originally postponed a vote on financial exigency until July 30.