Regents talk guns and money at April meeting
By Andrew Sheeler
Sun Star Reporter
The University of Alaska Board of Regents met in Dillingham on April 15 and 16. In addition to some housekeeping issues, the regents also discussed, for the first time, outgoing President Mark Hamilton’s proposal to increase tuition rates. Hamilton has recommended a 10 percent increase for school year 2011-0212 and a 12 percent increase for 2012-2013.
Emotions are running hot about the tuition increase. Several dozen sign-carrying UAA students protested the tuition hike last Thursday in Anchorage. Nicole Carvajal, ASUAF’s government relations director, has said there will be a similar protest at UAF this week.
Kate Ripley, the university’s director of public affairs, said that the regents took no action on tuition increase at the Dillingham meeting and that they wouldn’t address it until their September meeting.
But Cynthia Henry, the board’s chair, said the regents “spent a fair amount of time talking about tuition.” Henry said that the regents discussed the idea of traveling to all the campuses in the University of Alaska system to “hash it out with the students.” In particular, the regents were interested in talking with the students about the challenges the university faces, what it is that tuition covers, and precise dollar figures.
Ripley said that all three university chancellors support the tuition increase and that students will have a chance for input.
The university presidency was the subject of two items on the regents’ agenda. First, the regents voted to approve emeritus status for Mark Hamilton, whose tenure as UA president will be ending in June. The regents also voted to ratify the contract of Patrick Gamble, the CEO of the Alaska Railroad Corporation who will be the next president.
The Board of Regents also formally approved funding for a pair of projects. The Center for Alaska Native Health Research received a $7.5 million grant for renovation and Mat-Su College in Palmer received $2.4 million to improve ventilation.
A UAA student who is president of a group called Students for Concealed Carry brought the subject of concealed firearms carry on campus before the Board of Regents. The student was allowed to make his presentation to the regents after a meeting with Hamilton at which the two disagreed. However, the regents took no action following the man’s appeal and there is currently no plan for a change to the university’s gun policies.
The Board of Regents will next meet in Anchorage on June 3 and 4.