University of Alaska Board of Regents nominee Bethany Marcum, CEO of Alaska Policy Forum, is on record supporting the governor’s proposed 2019 extreme budget cuts to the UA system. These proposed budget cuts to public higher education in Alaska led to discussions in the BOR that prompted a warning from UA’s accrediting agency. The agency issued a letter detailing how the BOR’s planned actions would put the system’s accreditation at risk. Loss of accreditation would have been a major blow to Alaska’s post-secondary students and Alaska’s future workforce.
The ensuing smaller, but still very large, budget cuts spread over the past three years led to the closure of nearly 50 UA programs systemwide. These program closures resulted in the loss of students and growing public mistrust in the quality of the UA system, a situation from which the system is still recovering.
Nominee Bethany Marcum has demonstrated through her past public comments supporting devastating cuts to UA that she does not understand why the UA system requires a large budget to serve Alaska well. She cannot be trusted to make sound decisions to benefit the UA system and its many students. For the sake of Alaska’s post-secondary students as well as the state’s economic future and workforce development, I urge the Legislature to vote against Bethany Marcum’s appointment to the UA Board of Regents.