To the editor: The University of Alaska is a land grant, sea grant, and space grant institution. This means it receives research funding and other support from both U.S. and international entities that fund science in those areas. A key element of this is the land grant status, which is a primary means of support from both state and federal governments for both research and routine operations.
Unfortunately, the state of Alaska never gave the University of Alaska its full and proper land endowment. If it had done so with good quality, high value mineral lands and commercially viable properties, the university would be closer to being able to fund itself. If those lands were used as intended, the economy would benefit and some of the funds from the mineral lands, including oil and gas properties, would flow into the Alaska Permanent Fund as well.
The economic development would create jobs for graduating engineers, geologists, business managers, and environmental scientists among others.
Many of those graduates are our children, and their families could then choose to live here.
Keep in mind, the economic pain to the state of Alaska for this is virtually nil and the possible benefits are extraordinary.