The College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences retreat

Question

The College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences was recently in the Grapevine because someone asked about excessive staff travel to the R/V Sikuliaq event in Seattle. It seems there’s another situation to bring to light which may also involve wasteful spending. A few weeks ago, the college had a retreat that brought faculty and staff from all over the state. This surely required thousands of dollars to cover travel expenses but also expenses for meeting space, catering and social events. I hope it’s not true but I heard from a colleague who attended (I could not go) that there was a lot of alcohol during the social event. Was the alcohol out of pocket or was university funds used? How can the college spend so freely and wastefully when most departments are having to make severe cuts?

Response

I am happy to address your question. Staff and faculty of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences recently gathered together to plan the future of the college. With the new CFOS operating structure, a decadal plan is needed along with input from across the college to identify priorities and leverage our strengths.

This process is most effective when we can bring everyone together to discuss strengths, collaborate and develop new ideas. Our faculty and staff are located all over Alaska, and there had not been an all-faculty meeting since 2008. There has never been an all-hands meeting in the history of the school.

The decision to use one-time funds to bring everyone together was not made lightly, especially in consideration of our fiscal situation. However, it was necessary to bring people together to facilitate good communication and a new college plan.

The social events were paid for with private funds and provided food and limited beverages for attendees in appreciation of their efforts over the two days. Beer and wine were served, and staff followed UAF’s Alcohol Beverage Policy 05.12.001. Please feel free to contact me directly if you would like to discuss this matter.

— Bradley Moran, dean of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences