To the editor: I was upset by reading of the call by the University of Alaska faculty union, United Academics, for the resignation of university President Jim Johnsen. This comes when the university is under siege by the governor, who is intent on undermining the university with Draconian budget cuts. The reaction of the faculty union strikes me as akin to circling the wagons and shooting inward.
One of the reasons given for the union action is that Johnsen labeled the permanent fund dividend a “handout.” But that is true. The dividend is a massive handout to the undeserving, which the state can ill afford. Another charge leveled by the union is that Johnsen did not give the politically correct response to a question on diversity at a University of Wisconsin forum. Another complaint is that Johnsen seriously entertained an offer of the presidency of one of the most prestigious state universities in the United States. We should all take comfort that Johnsen was so well-thought of to have been offered the position, and in spite of the turmoil he elected to soldier on with the thankless job here at the University of Alaska.
None of the reasons for resignation proffered by the faculty union comes anywhere close to justifying overturning the University of Alaska leadership. Shame on United Academics.