ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The University of Alaska system president has instructed chancellors to support his public statements about budget issues and to support statements by the unversity’s board of regents, according to a memo.

President Jim Johnsen sent a memo to the three university chancellors instructing them on how public communications should be made during budget discussions, KTUU-TV reported Wednesday.

Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed $135 million from the university system’s budget in June.

“In this time of acute budgetary stress, please note that the Board has reserved a number of matters to itself, including the determination of budget requests and allocations, as well as what degree and certificate programs will be offered at each University,” Johnsen wrote in the February 18 memo obtained by KTUU.

“Communications on such issues must be coordinated, must respect and preserve the Board’s prerogatives, and thus must be reviewed and approved by the president,” Johnsen wrote to the Anchorage, Fairbanks and Southeast chancellors.

An administration spokeswoman confirmed the memo was sent by Johnsen and said it is logical for him to oversee communications. While there may be three separately accredited universities, the system is a single legal entity under the Alaska Constitution, Monique Musick said.


The goal of the memo was to create the expectation that chancellors should work collaboratively “rather than pursuing separate legislative or political agendas,” Musick wrote in an email.

University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor Daniel White said he would “reserve comment” on whether the policy impeded his ability to communicate independently.

White expressed concern about how broadly the directive could be interpreted because chancellors are asked to communicate on a range of matters.


Information from: KTUU-TV,