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BOR extends Pitney’s presidential term, discusses racial equity initiative and votes to reinstate UAA Alpine skiing

by UA News  |   

At its meeting today, the University of Alaska Board of Regents extended the term of UA Interim President Pat Pitney to ensure stability in leadership while the university continues to navigate budget stability and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The search for the next president is anticipated to begin in spring 2022.

The board also recognized and celebrated the success of the UAA Alpine ski team’s fundraising efforts and voted unanimously to reinstate the team to the athletics program. The team raised $628,000 in cash and pledges in recent months to fund the team for the next two years.

“The team and the community pulled together to generate the funding to support the team’s operations. This impressive effort exemplifies the team’s competitiveness in everything it undertakes and shows the overwhelming community support for the ski team. They are to be congratulated,” said UA Interim President Pat Pitney. “It’s so heartening to see that support and we hope the reinstatement will be followed by an ongoing effort to be more self-sustaining through continued fundraising support.”

Friday morning, Pitney issued a statement to faculty, staff and students emphasizing the importance of civility, respect and peaceful assembly and highlighting steps the Board of Regents is taking to increase equity and inclusion across the UA system. Her message can be found at bit.ly/3qoE16C.

As part of this effort, Pitney provided an update to the board today on an initiative to increase the success of UA’s Alaska Native students, staff and faculty and all students, faculty and staff of color. Through this initiative, steering committees and working groups including Alaska Native community leaders and the chancellors will work with faculty and staff on university-based action teams to develop solutions for addressing Alaska Native recruitment, retention and success throughout the UA system. 

“The motion that the board passed set the stage for getting a baseline and understanding of where we're starting from in terms of our Alaska Native Success, equity and inclusion, Pitney said. “We want to build on the good things happening and will capitalize on those things that are scalable. We also want to address our shortcomings.”

Information on this initiative can be found at the UA President website.

The board also heard about advocacy efforts the university will undertake in the months ahead and a report from Chief Financial Officer Myron Dosch, who presented an overview of the UA system office structure, roles and budget. The presentation highlighted the services performed from a board of regents policy perspective, from a corporate entity standpoint, and in terms of services on behalf of the entire system. Pitney included this presentation to the board as part of an effort to increase transparency and accountability.  

The board passed a resolution of support for the University of Alaska Land Grant Conveyance. Efforts to provide land grants for higher education in Alaska have reached back over 100 years. In September 2020, with support of Governor Dunleavy, the Alaska Congressional delegation introduced the “University of Alaska Fiscal Foundation Act” to establish a federal program under which lands selected by, but not yet conveyed to, the State of Alaska could be conveyed from the federal government directly to the university.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 25–26.

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