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Online Petition Protests University of Alaska President’s Bonus

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — More than 400 people have signed an online petition protesting a possible $320,000 bonus for University of Alaska President Pat Gamble.

Opponents hope the university’s regents will rescind the bonus or Gamble will return it, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Regents in June voted to award Gamble the bonus if he remained on the job through 2016. The bonus equals a year of his salary.

Sine Anahita, an associate professor of sociology on the university’s Fairbanks campus, launched the petition Tuesday and calls it “fiscally and morally irresponsible at this time.” About 40 positions have been eliminated at the Fairbanks campus, she said.

“It just seems so poorly timed,” Anahita said. “If this was the ‘80s, and we were flush with oil money, sure, give him a bonus, thank him for his service. We’re not flush with money, though.”

The petition had 429 names as of Saturday.

A memo written by Regents Chairwoman Pat Jacobson that’s being sent to people who have complained about the bonus notes that Gamble’s salary hasn’t increased since 2011.

His pay is at least 25 percent lower than compensation for system presidents at comparable universities, she wrote.

A bonus instead of a raise is a legitimate way to keep a strong leader, she said.

“Pat Gamble is an accomplished, nationally known and exceptional leader, who could readily take his skills elsewhere or simply decide to retire,” the memo states. “The retention incentive approach addresses market issues while creating a powerful incentive for President Gamble to stay on board.”

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