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Movement to #savealaskaskiing Heats Up; Public Testimony Taken Monday

Last week, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen announced his intention to target skiing for elimination at both the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Fairbanks in a pending waiver request submitted to the NCAA. This week, the Alaskan ski community is mobilizing to protest the proposal.

In an email widely circulated to “friends and members of our ski community,” supporters of the state’s ski programs advocated three ways to “take action now”:

  1. Write a concise email to the Board of Regents: ua-bor@alaska.edu.

  2. Sign the online petition “savealaskaskiing” here.

  3. Provide public testimony by calling 1-866-726-0757 on Monday October 31 4pm – 6pm (AK time). More info here.

The petition was begun by Fairbanks resident Brandy Harty last week. As of Monday morning Alaska time, it had over 2,100 signatures.

Regarding public testimony, the chair of the University of Alaska Board of Regents wrote in an editorial in Sunday’s Alaska Dispatch News that “The expansion of public testimony and community engagement through audio testimony brings more Alaskans into these important conversations. You help us shape and guide education in Alaska and improve the University of Alaska’s service to our state. … I look forward to hearing from you.”

The public testimony window runs from 4-6 p.m. Alaska time this afternoon. Alaska is four hours behind the East Coast. Written comments may be submitted by email at any time to ua-bor@alaska.edu.

In a separate email to FasterSkier, UAF Head Nordic Coach Nick Crawford provided contact information for the NCAA Division II Membership Committee that will be considering Johnsen’s waiver request, and encouraged supporters to write to the committee directly.

The committee chair is Kevin Schriver, Dean of the College of Education and Social Sciences at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Miss. Schriver’s email is kschriver [at] SBUniv.edu.

In a phone interview with FasterSkier Monday morning, Schriver was asked about the merits of Johnsen’s waiver proposal. “I’m not at liberty to [comment on] that just yet,” Schriver said. “I know the committee is meeting next week.”

Schriver appeared to suggest that the committee’s consideration of this proposal was less than a done deal, stating that the committee “will see if that will be a part of our agenda.” He said that the next scheduled committee meeting is Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, Nov. 8-9.

Emails for other members of the membership committee are: csnyder [at] setonhill.edu, stavaj [at] spu.edu, jeisen [at] umo.edu, gmac.commissioner [at] gmail.com, commissionerhogue [at] thepacwest.com, rthomas [at] umary.edu, margaret.poitevint [at] ung.edu, bhannum [at] hpu.edu, leslie.schuemann [at] heartlandsports.org, and ncullen [at] pittstate.edu.

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