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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Recognizing university contributions

  • Author: Andy Josephson
    | Opinion
  • Updated: July 6, 2019
  • Published July 6, 2019

Although I had nothing to do with what may be the largest cuts to university positions in state history, it is like me to apologize both for the things I did wrong or failed to do at all, and the things I didn’t do, that befall the innocent.

If the Legislature cannot muster a massive three-fourths vote to override the job-killing “closed for business” cuts cruelly made to a perfectly responsible university budget, then I apologize for the harm needlessly caused to faculty and staff careers.

I want you to know that I and many of my colleagues value university members’ great skill, dedication and service to our state. I know that many of them completed a four-year degree, a two-year masters degree and a 3-4 year Ph.D. I know that many of them competed with 100 or more applicants for the positions they’ve obtained. I know, also, that they were put on a probationary period of likely 4-7 years to achieve job security. I know that many of them effectively pay for their salaries by bringing in tens of millions of dollars through their incredible research efforts, monies that will now be lost. I know, too, that many of them cherish Alaska the way I do, that they’ve raised or are raising families here, have bought homes here, and are among some of our best citizens. And, I know that no one has ever gotten rich on a professor’s salary, and that their modest incomes feed families.

I know all these things. And, I and others like me, care deeply.

Many of you may wonder how this cruel, and completely unnecessary act came to pass? Well, our new governor wrongly believes that each Alaskan needs an extra $210 more than the 1,300 jobs set to be lost at the university. He fails to appreciate the university’s great contributions to Alaska’s economy, its democracy and the budding talents who hang on professors’ every word. Instead, for reasons only he can answer, he wants some of our top minds to move Outside, since that is the obvious result of his $130 million cut to the University of Alaska.

Again, I and my like-minded colleagues are going to do all in our power to correct the insult that university faculty and staff have suffered. But, if I cannot, know that tens of thousands of Alaskans cared — and continue to care — for those now facing these cuts. We care deeply.

— Rep. Andy Josephson

Anchorage

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