PERFECT WEATHER – Surfers assess the waves at Sandy Beach this morning. Waves were between 14- and 20-feet today. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

UA Merger Plan Poses Threat to Sitka Campus?

Sentinel Staff Writer

With the University of Alaska considering a merger of its Fairbanks and Southeast branches, the chairman of the UAS-Sitka Advisory Council told the Assembly Tuesday that may be the end of the Sitka campus.

“We have a real possibility that in fiscal year 2022 we might not have a campus,” advisory council chairman Garry White said.

Earlier this month, the University of Alaska Board of Regents voted to look into the possibility of a UAF-UAS merger as a cost-cutting measure. The University of Alaska Southeast has campuses in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan.

The official summary of the board meeting June 4-5 reads that the board “intends to inquire and collect data, examine ideas and opportunities, explore potential efficiencies, study the pros and cons of a structural option involving a merger of the University of Alaska Southeast and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.”

White said the regents cited a 20 percent cut to the university budget between 2014 and 2020, combined with declining enrollment and a lack of cost effectiveness at UAS as reasons to look into the merger.

He said there has been resistance to the idea of a merger.

“The Board of Regents of the University of Alaska system held a vote to look at the viability of absorbing the entire UAS system into the UAF. And there was quite a bit of push-back beforehand which was pretty much ignored by the Board of Regents,” he said.

“What the university president said is that he estimates that he could find a $15 million cut by doing this action,” White said. “But if you start looking at the numbers, the University of Alaska Southeast general fund budget every year is about $23 million. It’s only 7.6% of the entire overall system. So if they are looking to whack $15 million out of $23 million, it’s a potential that they are just going to close down our local campuses.”

The Sitka campus advisory council has sent a letter to the Board of Regents proposing “placing rural community campuses under University of Alaska Southeast administrative leadership, and advancing UAS’ leadership role in teacher preparation and educational leadership through a consortium of similar programs” at the university’s Anchorage and Fairbanks campuses.

The letter from the Sitka council raised alarm that “the only way that a merger of UAS into another university would make a meaningful impact on addressing UA’s fiscal challenge is if deep cuts were made to academic and workforce programs.”

“Hopefully we can convince the Board of Regents that this is a valued part of our community and that we can continue to keep it and continue to grow,” White told the Sentinel.


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August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

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– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 11-24-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 12:25 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 578

Total statewide – 27,669

Total (cumulative) deaths – 115

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 619

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Monday.

Active cases in Sitka – 29

Hospitalizations in Sitka – 3

Cumulative Sitka cases – 176 (155 resident; 21 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 147 cumulative

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.




November 2000

Photo caption: A painting by the late Dr. Walt Massey hangs on the wall of the Pioneers Home dining room,. bringing smiles from home administrator Julie Smith and Massey’s son Brian and daughter-in-law Amy, the home’s dietary manager. The painting of early-day Sitka was done in 1971, the year Dr. Massey, an optometrist and artist, died. It originally hung in the Canoe Club and was given by the restaurant’s owner, Frank Richards, to local historian Joe Ashby, who gave it to the Pioneers Home.

November 1970

Photo  caption: Sitka High School band director James Hope receives a check for $2,000 from American Legion Post 13 Commander Carroll Kohler. The Legion had voted to contribute $1,000 for uniforms and the Auxiliary voted to match that amount. The check was presented at the Legion’s Veterans Day banquet.