Veto override countdown
Dear UA Community –
This morning I learned from a key legislative leader that the vote to override the
governor’s vetoes is set for Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. This vote will have a major impact
on the university’s future. If legislators do not override, the governor’s $130 million
cut to the legislature’s budget for the university will leave us no option but to
consider a declaration of financial exigency.
If they do override the governor’s vetoes, we get to take a breath, but not for long
as we must prepare now our budget for next year with the very same unresolved conflicts
facing our state on such issues as the PFD and the “size of government.” There is
some talk of supplemental funding in the capital budget if the override fails. While
unlikely to result in enough funding to eliminate major base budget reductions, such
funding could help with the costs of transition from our current state to a future,
Our focus in the coming days needs to be on the override. Failure to override the
governor’s vetoes will result in deep cuts to educational programs, essential research and community
services across the state. Not a single campus anywhere in the state, including community
campuses, can be spared from cuts.
Knowing that all of you have put forward an extraordinary effort on behalf of the
university, I want to thank you for your advocacy to keep UA Strong. You have rallied
and written your legislators; carried UA Strong signs in Fourth of July parades all
over the state; expressed your support in print and on social media growing UA Strong
to more than 2,500 followers; and, exhibited in so many ways why the university is
important to you and crucial to this state’s future. Thank you!
Make no mistake, you have been heard. In a statewide survey done last week for UA
Strong, 61 percent of Alaskans said they oppose the governor’s $130 million veto of
the legislature’s budget for the university and 59 percent said they would tell their legislator to vote to override it. Just 17 percent said they support the
vetoes. The July survey was done to determine how Alaskans feel about the veto of the legislature’s budget, and 72 percent of Alaskans
said the cut would be detrimental to the university.
Your voices also have been heard across the country by leaders of higher education
organizations who have written to legislators on our behalf and by the national media.
Already Bloomberg News, National Public Radio, The Chronicle of Higher Education,
the Washington Post and the New York Times have published or aired stories about the governor’s $130 million veto of the legislature’s budget for the university. Links
to all of these letters of support and national articles can be found on the UA Strong Facebook page.
The article in Sunday’s New York Times mentioned a document I discussed with Gov. Dunleavy regarding a $49 million cut to
our budget. The document [posted at https://alaska.edu/pres/
I know the next several days will be difficult as we wait to see what the legislature
will do, but I urge you to stay positive, keep up the pressure, attend the rallies in your respective cities and towns and continue to show your support for the University
of Alaska. I also remind you that university employees attending a rally during their
work hours must claim leave if you are on contract after consulting with your supervisor
to ensure operations are not disrupted. UA resources may not be used to attend or
As we move forward into this week, remember the old call to action:
If not you, who?
If not for this, what?
If not here, where?
If not now, when?