University president responds to no-confidence resolution

University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen released a video acknowledging his role in what he calls a breakdown in unity across the university system.

Johnsen issued the video statement Wednesday in the wake of a University of Alaska Anchorage Faculty Senate no-confidence resolution in his leadership issued last week, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

There were also reports of infighting between university campuses.

Johnsen remained in “crisis mode” over the spring and summer resulting from a $70 million budget cut by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, he said.

“I didn’t adjust to our new, still urgent, reality,” he said.

He acknowledged a need to empower others across the system in an effort toward inclusivity that the university Board of Regents saw lacking in recent governance decisions.

“While that was a hard thing to do while facing that big budget ax, after the agreement there was an opportunity to reach out and involve more people,” Johnsen said.

“No one person, including me, has all the answers,” he said. “And again, while we are under pressure, often leaders do step up and come up with approaches and plans to deal with challenges and crises.”

Anchorage Faculty Senate President Scott Downing would like to see Johnsen and the Board of Regents “walk the talk” before altering his view, he said.

“I think our concern is still pretty high,” Downing said. “It’s a positive step to acknowledge some of the shortcomings of the leadership, but I think he’s going to need to restore confidence in his leadership and demonstrate ongoing commitment to the inclusive governance processes moving forward.”

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