Racial diversity, equity identified as UA priorities

University of Alaska regents say they have set a high priority on addressing barriers, challenges and opportunities to improve participation and outcomes for Alaska Native and indigenous students, faculty and staff.

The board of regents met recently with several groups concerning racial injustice and institutional bias, and is awaiting a report assessing these issues, in order to provide informed direction to address them, regents said in a statement issued on Friday, Nov. 3. The report is due to the regents by its June 2021 meeting.

In order to create meaningful change, the university must develop a comprehensive, consistent plan with benchmarks that support Alaska Native faculty and students and all faculty and students of color, said UA Interim President Pat Pitney.

In dealing with financial issues, the board approved an operating budget reflecting the amount in a three-year compact agreement with Gov. Mike Dunleavy and passed a fiscal year 2022 state appropriation request of $257 million, $20 million less than the current fiscal year.

In a related matter, the board agreed to raise tuition for upper division ad graduate level classes at UAF beginning in the fall of 2021, saying this would bring UAD more in line with tuition rate levied at peer research universities in western states. No tuition increase was proposed for either the University of Alaska Anchorage or the University of Alaska Southeast.

In board elections, all regents were elected to continue in their current roles, with Sherri Buretta, chairman of the board of Chugach Alaska Corp., as chair; Karen Perdue as vice chair; Dale Anderson as secretary; and Lisa Parker, as treasurer.