UNA Hosts Members of the Legislative Delegation

By  | January 12, 2020 | Filed under: News

Dr. Ken Kitts and Jason Cochran

FLORENCE – During two days in January, the University of North Alabama administration welcomed members of the local legislative delegation to campus as well as to an off-site location in Decatur for an update on the University as it enters its 190th year, making it the state’s oldest four-year institution.

“These events allowed us to meet with the lawmakers who will be in Montgomery for the start of the legislative session and who will be fighting to ensure UNA receives equitable funding,” said
President Ken Kitts. “We know UNA receives about $10 million less per year than other Alabama universities of comparable size, scope, and mission. It’s time to change that.”

Among those who attended was Sen. Tim Melson, who is also a UNA graduate.

“Obviously, we’re further from Montgomery than any other institution, so, if we’re not there and asking and pleading our case, then we’re not as effective,” he said. “But I believe we are making strides, and I hope we’ll see a permanent increase in the budget going forward.”

President Kitts created the Project 208 initiative three years ago; the number refers to the miles between UNA and the state’s capital city. Since then, there has been an increase in the
University’s percentage of funding from state appropriations; however, there remains a wide gap between UNA and other similarly sized institutions.

Jason Cochran has also been hired as the Executive Director for Governmental Relations and Economic Development. He joined the staff in December.

“UNA is the primary economic driver in the Shoals, and, if we want to remain the vibrant and innovative University that we are, we are going to have to change the funding stream from
Montgomery,” he said. “Our legislators are an important part of that.”

Another UNA alumnus and state legislator is Jamie Kiel; he was also in attendance at the legislative update.

“Until recently, when Sen. Melson and I and one other UNA grad were elected, the University had little voice in Montgomery,” Kiel said. “Now that we’re there and that there is a strong voice, I believe we’re going to see improvements. We need this statewide support.”
Media Release/Michelle Eubanks
Interim Associate Director, Communications and Marketing
University Communications and Marketing

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