Associate Professors Karma R. Chávez (UW Madison) and Holly Hassel (UW Marathon County) were interviewed (with listener call-ins) today by the radio show “A Public Affair” on WORT 89.9.
“Today we are going to be talking about changes in the University of Wisconsin System, especially changes resulting from budget cuts and shared governance. We’ll also be talking about the recent vote of no confidence by faculty senate at various UW campuses. And finally, we’ll be talking about faculty leaving the UW System.”
Listen to the audio here, starting at 5:20.
Last Tuesday, the UW Milwaukee Academic Staff Senate added their body to the growing number of UW governance groups around the state that have passed no-confidence resolutions. With that vote – the first by non-tenure-track UW employees, they demolish the myth deliberately cultivated by Governor Walker and others that the no-confidence votes have been strictly about faculty self-interest in connection with the weakening of tenure provisions.
It’s not about self-interest, it’s about values and about responsible stewardship of one of Wisconsin’s finest public assets.
Dear President Cross and UW Board of Regents:
On Friday, May 20, the University of Wisconsin Colleges Faculty Council of Senators held a special meeting to consider a “Resolution on the Actions of President Cross and the Board of Regents.” The council voted 11-5-1 to endorse the resolution, affirming “NO CONFIDENCE in President Ray Cross and the Board of Regents’ commitment to defend the Wisconsin Idea and extend the benefits of the University to every citizen in the state.”
In a TV interview on May 17, 2016, UW System President Ray Cross reacted to the no-confidence votes spreading throughout the System that call on the President and the Board of Regents “to recommit themselves to the Wisconsin Idea by carrying out their responsibilities and working with us to strengthen the quality of our state universities, in particular by working with the state legislature to make a positive case for improved access, affordability, and educational resources for our students; for additional support for scholarship and its associated economic benefits; for greater resources for outreach and services to citizens of the State; and by truly respecting, advancing, and participating in shared governance at the UW System.” These resolutions follow years of disinvestment in the State’s universities and attacks on the quality of education by state government.
Last Sunday morning, UW System President Ray Cross gave a TV interview on “UpFront with Mike Gousha” concerning the recent no-confidence votes at six UW campuses. From the Cap Times writeup:
Cross said faculty members shouldn’t be worried about program closures or changes simply to meet state employer workforce needs. “We all are worried about the future,” he said. “That’s a concern and an anxiety. But no one is going to make an arbitrary decision to just close a program or to do that because, gee, we don’t have the need for that. We are comprehensive, multi-campuses. This university is a major institution in this state. And it must serve a whole array of needs. I sympathize with faculty and I understand their concerns, but much of that is predicated on their fears, not on substance.” [emphasis added]
With the departure of Jim Villa, the Vice President for University Relations who led the UW System’s communications and lobbying efforts during the critical budget negotiations of Spring 2015, we have a rare opportunity for a cost-saving measuring that will do no harm to the University. Liquidating Villa’s position would save the System some $178,000 a year. That savings could pay for the salaries of two junior professors or even more instructors or support staff. Based on the evidence from last year, we are confident that President Ray Cross and his remaining office staff will do no worse advocating for the University System without a special lobbyist.
True to form, Governor Walker continues to ramp up the inflammatory and factually baseless public rhetoric against UW faculty in the wake of votes of no confidence that have now passed in Madison, La Crosse, River Falls, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Parkside. Just prior to the Milwaukee vote, he released a statement that included the following:
“Some faculty bodies, including faculty at UW-M today, appear more interested in protecting outdated ‘job for life’ tenure than about helping students get the best education possible,” said Governor Walker. “The University should not be about protecting the interests of the faculty, but about delivering value and excellence to Wisconsin.”
The following article from 1911 makes painfully clear how the relationship between Wisconsin GOP leaders and the University of Wisconsin has radically changed relative to a century ago.
(via Google Books) Continue reading
On Friday afternoon, a neutron bomb was lobbed in the rapidly escalating war on the University of Wisconsin. The Joint Finance Committee revealed, and then quickly approved, an omnibus budget motion for UW System that not only sustains $250 million of Governor Walker’s proposed $300 million biennial cut, but for good measure is also larded with elaborate and intrusive non-fiscal policy items, some of which put the future of shared governance and tenure in grave doubt. Continue reading
Many people are understandably confused by arguments concerning declines in state support, increases in tuition, and total support available for the instructional mission of the university. This analysis tries to make the relationships clearer by looking at historical data.
When it comes to the basic functions of the University, including salaries and expenses related to instruction, the two relevant funding streams are (a) tuition collected and (b) state support, otherwise known as general program revenue, or GPR.
Other fund sources, such as federal grants and private gifts, are completely irrelevant, because they cannot be expended on anything except what they were designated for, such as research costs, building construction, and similar. Cuts in GPR or tuition collections cannot be covered by shifting money from other sources. Continue reading