Chancellor update on July 9 Alaska Airlines Center event

by Sean Parnell, UAA Chancellor  |   

Dear UAA Community,

I anticipate most of you have seen or heard that next Saturday, July 9, the Save America political action committee will be renting the Alaska Airlines Center to host a rally for several political candidates. Please note that UAA is not hosting the event. However, as we head into the long weekend, I want to provide additional context, as I understand many of you have questions about the event.

The university must review all facilities-use requests objectively with freedom of speech and other legal considerations at the forefront of decision making. This legal and ethical obligation is one of the many policies that safeguard freedom of expression on campus, an important aspect of UAA’s mission.

As a publicly funded university, it would be both illegal and unconstitutional to prevent a group from leasing university facilities based on speech that may occur in the facility or speech that we disagree with. Some exceptions to this First Amendment right do exist, but none of these exceptions apply in this case.

As noted in USUAA’s independent statement on June 30, UAA is working to mitigate the impact this event will have on the campus community in regards to traffic and daily life. UAA is actively engaging in planning sessions internally as well as with municipal partners, organizations in the UMED district and other groups in the area to support the safety and security of the community. Additionally, due to the presence of a former president, the U.S. Secret Service is planning all aspects of security in coordination with local partners.

In their statement, USUAA leaders encourage students to stay engaged in the community, commit to their civic duty to vote, and act safely and responsibly when exercising freedom of speech and freedom to peaceably assemble. I wholeheartedly support these messages.

Since information about the event became public knowledge, many of you have written to myself and other UAA leaders expressing your thoughts about the event. I would like to personally thank you for taking the time to send your feedback. I assure you that, as always, my team has read and reviewed all of the feedback we have received thus far and will continue to do so.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out via email at

Thank you for everything you do to make UAA an amazing place to learn, teach and work. Please enjoy the long weekend and stay safe as you celebrate.

Sean Parnell
UAA Chancellor

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