The big fib
University of Alaska supporters and officials want you to believe Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s $130 million state budget cut for that institution represents a 41 percent slice of its entire budget.
That is patently untrue. It is a 41 percent cut of the Legislature’s proposed $322 million contribution to the university. It is shocking that anybody would, in advertisements and news stories, tout such a fib.
The actual cut to the state’s contribution to the UA budget is somewhere near 17 percent. In fact, the university’s complete annual budget, counting all revenue streams – including tuition, grants and contracts – hovers near $900 million.
Seventeen percent is a far cry from 41 percent, and certainly does not sound as bad. In this case, a good fib, we suspect – at least from the bloated, inefficient university’s perspective – may be better than a poor truth.
To be fair, losing $130 million could cause UA some serious problems, including, among other things, possible loss of professors, staff, tuition revenue and federal grants and matching grants. Some will tell you it would lead to a downward spiral for the institution.
Those who now are lying to the public about a bogus 41 percent cut to the university’s entire budget to generate support should argue the true and likely effects, and make their point using facts.
What they are doing only diminishes the university. If you cannot trust the university to be truthful about this, what can you trust it with?