Abel Bult-Ito, a biochemist and the president of the University of Alaska’s 900-member faculty union, the largest within the university system, wrote a very long, very detailed letter to the chair of the University of Alaska’s Board of regents, Pat Jacobson, objecting to UA president Pat Gamble’s recently-approved $320,000 retention bonus. Among other things, Bult-Ito writes that because details of the bonus were not disclosed prior to the meeting in June where the bonus was approved, the board must take the issue up again when it next meets in September. Read the full letter here.
The bonus was offered by the Board of Regents on the condition that Gamble stay until 2016. It was offered during a time when the university system is facing budget deficits and is in the process of laying off faculty. Hence, the six-figure bonus has been the source of contention, which is spilling over into the political realm. A petition calling on the university to “fund education, not bonuses for executives” has been signed by 1321 people as of Thursday afternoon.
In the letter, Bult-Ito, president of United Academics-AAUP/AFT Local 4996, disputes every point that has been made by the board to justify the bonus. He also says that the decision by which the bonus was voted on was not in accordance with public notice requirements. The specific terms of the bonus weren’t publicized before the meeting and weren’t on the agenda. He said that because the board failed to do so, the board “will have to approve such a bonus at the 18-19 September BOR meeting in Juneau.”
All of the members of the Board of Regents have been appointed by the Palin/Parnell administration or the Parnell/Treadwell administration. Four seats will be coming open for appointment and will be submitted to the Legislature during the 2015 session for confirmation.
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