Tuckerman Babcock hosts a rally in Soldotna during his campaign for state Senate in October of 2022. On Wednesday he was appointed to the University of Alaska’s Board of Regents by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. Babcock has a long and controversial political history in Alaska, including illegally demanding hundreds of state employees sign loyalty oaths to Dunleavy or be fired. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion File)

Tuckerman Babcock hosts a rally in Soldotna during his campaign for state Senate in October of 2022. On Wednesday he was appointed to the University of Alaska’s Board of Regents by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. Babcock has a long and controversial political history in Alaska, including illegally demanding hundreds of state employees sign loyalty oaths to Dunleavy or be fired. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion File)

Tuckerman Babcock resigns from UA Board of Regents after two months

Controversial former chief of staff to Gov. Dunleavy was an interim appointment

Tuckerman Babcock resigned from his post as a member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents on Wednesday, after two months in the role and before his confirmation by the state Legislature.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy appointed Babcock, his former chief of staff and a longstanding Republican figure, to the board that guides policy and appoints the president of the state’s university system on June 1, after legislators rejected Bethany Marcum for the position in May.

In his resignation, addressed to the governor, Babcock thanked him and said he was humbled and honored by his appointment.

“I simply find myself unable to devote the full time and attention to the Board that you, my fellow Regents and the University certainly deserve,” Babcock wrote in the short letter, which he emailed Wednesday morning.

Babcock could not be reached by phone for comment on Wednesday afternoon.

Babcock served as Dunleavy’s chief of staff from December 2018 until July 2019. In 2021, a federal judge found that the men violated the U.S. and Alaska state constitutions when they sent letters seeking the resignation of hundreds of state employees. Babcock said the letters were intended to confirm that the employees wanted to work on Dunleavy’s agenda.

The state paid a total of $845,000 to settle lawsuits for the wrongful firings of three state employees as a result.

Babcock also served as the chair of the Alaska Republican Party and as a member of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for state Senate in 2022.

Some legislators said they thought Babcock’s confirmation would be unlikely. He was a supporter of Dunleavy’s deep cuts to the university budget in 2019, among the reasons legislators cited when they rejected Marcum for the same role.

The board will still conduct “business as usual” with only 10 members, said Jonathon Taylor, a spokesperson for the university. He added that Board of Regents Chair Ralph Seekins and University President Pat Pitney thanked Babcock for his service on the board.

The governor’s office gave no comment on Wednesday, but a spokesperson for his office said there will be an announcement when the governor selects a new appointee.

• Claire Stremple is a reporter based in Juneau who got her start in public radio at KHNS in Haines, and then on the health and environment beat at KTOO in Juneau. This article originally appeared online at alaskabeacon.com. Alaska Beacon, an affiliate of States Newsroom, is an independent, nonpartisan news organization focused on connecting Alaskans to their state government.

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