UA spews P.R.

Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The University of Alaska Statewide administration's lavishly funded P.R. machine has spewed much biased information about 14-month-old contract negotiations between UA and the 300-member Alaska Community Colleges' Federation of Teachers, but after Jim Johnsen (one of UA President Mark Hamilton's many highly paid vice presidents) misled a student journalist recently, we had to correct the record.

In September, ACCFT's negotiators asked its membership to e-mail Johnsen (and copy ACCFT) in order to move talks along. As ACCFT members ourselves, we carefully crafted a long personal e-mail to Johnsen.

"Thanks for the thoughtful note," he responded. "It was a welcome relief to the cut-and-paste version bombarding my e-mail today."

Johnsen was quoted similarly in UAA's student newspaper, the Northern Light, describing ACCFT e-mails, dubbing them "cut-and-paste" and what "the union told them (the faculty) to say."

But the ACCFT also has copies of those 150 e-mails and 86 of them, just like ours, were "personally composed faculty e-mails," ACCFT official Marcia Stratton told us later. We asked the Northern Light student reporter, Laura Beard, if she had quoted Johnsen correctly. "That's exactly how he characterized those e-mails," she said. Shame on you, Jim, for mischaracterizing all those e-mails, both to us and to a student.

John Creed, UA professor of journalism

Susan B. Andrews, UA professor of journalism


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