It has just come to our attention that a resolution has been prepared for presentation at the next meeting of the Faculty Senate on November 2. The reported wording of the resolution is as follows:
Whereas the Provost’s proposed reorganization of the Graduate School has proceeded without a detailed written plan and without time for due consideration of the implications of such a plan for research and graduate education, the Faculty Senate proposes that any such action to implement such a plan, e.g., through the creation of a new Vice Chancellor for Research or changes in the functions of the Graduate School, be postponed until such time as there is a fully developed written plan that has been reviewed and approved by the University Committee and the Faculty Senate with appropriate opportunity for comment from all members of the faculty.
Among those who have discussed this resolution within our earshot, there is strong sentiment that it would pass by a very large margin.
Such an outcome would be both gratifying and deeply troubling.
Gratifying because it would send a clear message that the faculty are largely united in their profound concern regarding the process to date and, especially, in their willingness to stand up for the principle and tradition of shared governance at UW-Madison.
Troubling because it would represent a very serious, damaging, and completely unexpected breach of mutual trust and shared purpose between the faculty and the relatively new Administration. There would be no winners in this scenario, regardless of whether the restructuring process continues on the Chancellor’s and Provost’s fast track or whether the faculty succeed in forcing a fresh look at the issue.
One colleague’s dour assessment is that this is a resolution that one must desperately hope will not need to be offered after all but that, if it is, one can scarcely imagine anyone voting against it.
It is our impression that the Chancellor and Provost set this train into motion on the gamble that it would reach its destination before we, the faculty and staff, had much of a chance to understand what was at stake, let alone to react. It is also our impression that that gamble has already failed and that we are now on a dangerous collision course. If nothing changes, the collision will occur on November 2.
We urge the Administration to put on the brakes and avert the collision.
– The Editors