VPAAR Dan White was recognized during the June Board of Regents meeting. He will become the UAF Chancellor July 1 Photo by Monique Musick

System News June 2017

  • Title IX Training at the University of Alaska
  • Board of Regents to approve FY18 budget June 27
  • Regents hear FY18 budget plan; approve budget contingency option
  • Board of Regents discusses FY18 budget and enrollment strategies, hears from experts on state higher education systems

Board of Regents to approve FY18 budget June 27

The University of Alaska Board of Regents will hold an emergency meeting June 27 to give final approval to the university’s FY18 operating budget and distribution plan.

The meeting will be video-conferenced in the following locations:

  • 212 Butrovich Building, University of Alaska Fairbanks campus
  • 204 Administrative Services Building, University of Alaska Anchorage campus
  • 204 Hendrickson Building, University of Alaska Southeast campus

The meeting will be livestreamed http://www.alaska.edu/bor/live/ with the exception of any executive session.

Regents hear FY18 budget plan; approve budget contingency option

Striking a relieved but somber tone, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen presented the university’s FY18 budget to the UA Board of Regents at its special meeting June 22.

On Wednesday, June 21, the legislative operating budget conference committee set the university’s operating budget at $317 million unrestricted general funds (UGF), an $8 million cut from the university’s FY17 operating budget.

“This is not a time for high-fives,” Johnsen said. “This is more a time for relief because the cut could have been even deeper, and now we must focus on the hard work ahead.”

Johnsen addressed the university’s $317 million budget scenario, which would leave an $11 million budget gap factoring in fixed cost increases. The university’s plan to address the gap will rely on continued reductions and reallocations while maintaining investment in strategic priorities including aggressive marketing, recruitment and retention programs to increase student enrollment, research, workforce/online program development, and process automation.

Even during lean budget times, Johnsen said, “We’ve got to keep investing in our high priorities, otherwise the downward spiral keeps going. We’ve got to take a deep breath, manage through these reductions, then focus on our investments and growth.”

Regents also approved a budget contingency option in the unlikely event that a state operating budget is not passed by July 1, authorizing Johnsen to receive an advance on the FY18 appropriation from the state Office of Management and Budget. The authorization is necessary in order to maintain constitutionally and legally mandated university functions if the budget impasse were to continue into FY18.

Title IX Training at the University of Alaska

More than 70 University of Alaska employees from across the system responsible for processing, investigating, adjudicating, and/or resolving complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, received training in Fairbanks and online June 12 from NCHERM: The National Center for Higher Education Risk Management.

Additionally, 28 university staff members earned their Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) Civil Rights Investigator Level Two Certification during the week-long training session that covered Title IX and other laws, investigation guidelines, issue spotting, strategy development and other key topics.

Training content focused on topics outlined in the February 16, 2017 Voluntary Resolution Agreement the university entered into with the Office for Civil Rights, including but not limited to:

  • How to conduct adequate, reliable and impartial investigations of sex discrimination, including how to handle incidents that occur off campus.
  • Consent and the role drugs and alcohol can play in the ability to consent.
  • The provision of interim measures and the need for remedial actions for the perpetrator, complainant and school community.
  • The requirement of fully documenting all steps of an investigation and resolution, including any testimony collected from witnesses, the start and stop dates of any investigation suspension, the offer and acceptance or decline of interim relief, and the issuance of notice to all parties.

The first two days of training were filmed, please contact Mary Gower (msgower@alaska.edu) for a link to that recording.  Supervisors may wish to identify a 20-minute segment for their staff to view in advance of their next staff meeting for discussion.

The training week closed with a university General Counsel session on the investigative process and a discussion synthesizing content over the week and addressing any remaining questions.

While this intensive training was for employees directly involved in handling Title IX reports, it’s important to remember that all faculty, all staff, and all Residence Life student employees are responsible employees and are required to complete the Haven Title IX training at UAOnline annually. University employees must know their campus Title IX Coordinators and be familiar with the processes for reporting violations of the sexual harassment and gender discrimination policy. The new policy, P 01.04, should be reviewed by all employees for further information on the university’s commitment to providing support, services and due process in all situations. Please contact your Title IX Coordinator or Human Resources Office for more information.

June 1-2 Board of Regents Recap

Board of Regents discusses FY18 budget and enrollment strategies, hears from experts on state higher education systems

The University of Alaska Board of Regents used its June meeting in Fairbanks to address the options for the university’s FY18 operating budget and agreed to reconvene later this month when the state budget is finalized by the legislature. The board also was briefed on enrollment strategies at UA’s three universities and on statewide higher education systems.

UA President Jim Johnsen presented budget scenarios, noting that UA must remain flexible in its budget preparation to adapt to a still undetermined FY18 appropriation. The legislature has yet to pass a state operating or capital budget, prompting university officials to develop plans ranging from $325 million unrestricted general funds (UGF) to $303 million UGF. UA has taken significant general fund cuts to its operating budget over the past three years, totaling $53 million. The reduction has led to downsized services and a loss of 933 employees statewide. The university still plans to prioritize and invest in strategic areas, including enrollment marketing and advertising, research, workforce development (e.g. nursing and teacher preparation), online program development and process automation. These focus areas are intended to strengthen the university’s academic programs and student services, diversify revenues and reduce long term costs.

Regents expressed concern about a continually unpredictable budget process and the effect reductions have had on the university community.  MORE...

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