Whalesong 2020

Where we’ve been and where we’re going

Khrystl Brouillette, Editor-in-Chief

The Whalesong has been the student-run newspaper at UAS since 1981. As the voice of the student body, we strive to present relevant stories and content to the entire campus and the larger Juneau community. 

In 2019, our monthly publication reported on the loss of UAA’s teaching accreditation, followed University of Alaska budget cuts and Board of Regents meetings, highlighted student successes, publicized events in our community, covered Indigenous Peoples’ Month, and a variety of other stories.  2020 brings a new year and the Whalesong plans to continue to follow stories that impact our university, while also including more Juneau coverage. 

Whalesong Content Expansion

The Juneau Empire slogan is “The voice of Alaska’s capital since 1912.” Historically, it employed more than 30 reporters, photographers, and editors, according to Editor Emily Miller. When it was owned by Morris Communications, the Empire occupied its three-story building on Channel Drive, known for its view and Alaskan artwork. 

Today, the Empire, its printing press, and small staff occupy a fraction of the first floor of the same building. Most of the building is now office space for Juneau healthcare provider SEARHC.

Recent cuts to the Juneau Empire have reduced staff to one editor and three reporters. No sports reporter, no photographer, no copy editor, no ad manager. The Juneau Empire still prints the Whalesong. 

Our campus newspaper has one editor, a photographer and four reporter positions all filled, with an additional ad manager spot still available.  With our staffing, we hope to cover more local news, even beyond our campus. 

Budget Update

On Jan. 16, the UA Board of Regents voted to increase student tuition by 5% starting in the fall 2020 semester. Tuition will rise for lower and upper division students, but not graduate and non-resident students. 

The regents directed that $1.5 million of the tuition revenue go toward financial aid at all three UA campuses.

“We care deeply about our students and want to make sure those in need have access to adequate financial aid,” Board Chair Sheri Buretta said in a UA press release. 

Tuition has steadily increased since 2016. 

The latest increase is in response to statewide budget cuts and is expected to raise about $7 million, based on flat enrollment. However, enrollment at all three campuses has been declining. 

The university has been grappling with a $25 million reduction in state funds last year, and the BOR has agreed to a $25 million cut for the next fiscal year. It is part of the $70 million compact with the Dunleavy administration, in lieu of Gov Mike Dunleavy’s  planned reduction of nearly $136 million. 

Last fall, the BOR postponed a proposal to combine the three UA campuses into one university, which was also in response to budget cuts. 

UAS Community Council

The first UAS community council meeting was held on Jan. 19 in the UAS Housing Lodge.

Community council is designed as a student governance program for UAS housing residents. 

Housing residents were invited to share their input via surveys and by joining committees such as food services, long-term maintenance projects and event programming. 

“This was actually something UAS had a long time ago and we’re finally bringing it back,” said Nathan Bodenstadt, Director of Housing and Residence Life.  

Housing residents can pick up surveys from any lodge location to participate in the council. 

New Chancellor Search

Last Fall, UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield announced he would be retiring in June 2020. 

A new chancellor is in the process of being selected by a committee of UAS staff and students, with the final decision to be made by UA President Jim Johnsen.  

Finalists in the search process will be on all three UAS campuses in mid-March for Q & A sessions aimed at students, faculty and staff. 

For updates and communication, visit http://uas.alaska.edu/chancellor/chancellor-search.html.

Student Excellence

More than 180 students were listed in the fall UAS 2019 Chancellor’s and Dean’s lists. 

Dean’s list students are recognized for achieving a 3.5 GPA in the fall semester and Chancellor’s list students are recognized for achieving a 4.0 GPA. 

The Whalesong extends our congratulations!

UAS Excellence

College Values Online ranked the UAS marine biology bachelor’s program number 5 in the United States. 

This follows a 2018 ranking at number 8 in the nation for marine biology by College Magazine. 

Top-notch faculty, the opportunity for unique undergraduate research and geographic location have contributed to UAS’s continued high rating.

Additionally, UAS is now home to the first accredited business program in Alaska. 

This accreditation comes from The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs which is the only organization that accredits business programs from associate to doctoral levels. 

“This accreditation is evidence that UAS is committed to providing the highest quality business education for their students,” ACBSP Chief Accreditation Officer Dr. Steve Parscale said in a UA press release. 


The Whalesong plans to update our web presence as well as becoming more active on social media.

We’re also looking to incorporate more student and faculty produced content each month. This could be in the form of a monthly column or one-time submission of an article, a poem, a photograph or anything you can think of. 

Clubs and organizations are highly encouraged to submit content to be published. 

For more information on being published, contact us at uas.whalesong@alaska.edu

We’re looking forward to a great year! 

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