Faculty Senate to debate principles for New Badger Partnership

Most readers will be aware of the Chancellor’s efforts to seek new flexibilities from the State of Wisconsin, as embodied in her New Badger Partnership proposal.   The Faculty Senate is now poised to take up a discussion of principles they would like to see preserved as part of any agreement with the State.   The document Principles for the New Badger Partnership, reproduced below in its entirety, is on the agenda for New Business on February 7 at 3:30 PM in Bascom Hall 272.

Sifting and Winnowing strongly encourages the campus community to carefully review this document well before the Feb. 7 meeting and to offer comments, critiques, and pertinent questions to be considered by the Faculty Senate and by all those who might be affected by negotiations that we assume are already taking place between the Administration and the State.

We will break the ice by posing the first question here:  Has high speed rail come to Madison after all (metaphorically speaking), and are we tied to the tracks?

University of Wisconsin-Madison    Faculty Document 2244
7 February 2011


The University Committee, in dialog with the administration, other governance groups and employee unions, articulated the following principles to guide negotiations with state government regarding the relationship of the University of Wisconsin-Madison to the state of Wisconsin. The chancellor has articulated her New Badger Partnership vision for our university, which would provide flexibility from state constraints in order to enable the institution to manage more effectively decreases in state funding. Details regarding such flexibility, the form it might take or the statutory changes required, are not available at this time and await action by the governor and legislature on the state budget. In the absence of specific details, the University Committee advocates that the Faculty Senate adopt these principles to guide engagement with lawmakers regarding any change in the relationship of the university to the state.


These principles are critical to maintaining a pre-eminent teaching and research enterprise at UW-Madison, allowing us to retain and enhance the diversity of the university community and to maintain high quality higher education for the citizens of the state. The following are essential:

  • Shared governance, as articulated in Chapter 36.09 of the current state statutes, must be preserved.
  • All university employees must have the ability to advise the university administration.
  • Academic freedom must be protected.
  • Legislation that in any way infringes on the right of university faculty, staff and students to teach or conduct research on topics of their own choosing is unacceptable.
  • Terms of faculty employment, including faculty control over hiring and tenure as articulated in Chapter 36.09(4) and 36.13 of the current state statutes, must be preserved.
  • The existing right of university faculty, staff and student employees to be represented by unions must not be infringed. University employees must have the right to elect to be represented and must have the right to choose their union affiliation.
  • All university employees must have the right to due process. Structures for external arbitration and external oversight must be maintained.
  • Partnership agreements with private entities must protect the intellectual property rights of the university and of university faculty, staff, and students. Such agreements must not infringe on academic freedom.


These are the core principles of financial flexibility:

  • As articulated by Chancellor Martin, state funding reductions in the absence of substantive flexibility are not acceptable.
  • Cost-to-continue is essential to the continued existence and success of UW-Madison.
  • The university must be allowed to retain money saved, without threat of seizure, for its own purposes.
  • Higher education must be affordable and accessible to all the families of Wisconsin. The university must provide need-based financial aid and provide it largely as grants and for four full years in order that students of modest means may successfully complete their degrees.
  • Employee benefits must continue to be provided through the state.
  • The university will ensure fairness and equity in employment practices and salaries, including, for instance, prevailing wage for construction projects.

Internal University Processes for Deliberation on the New Badger Partnership Proposals arising from the New Badger Partnership Initiative will be vetted by appropriate university groups. These groups will include, but are not limited to: school/college academic planning councils, University Committee, Faculty Senate, Academic Staff Executive Committee, Academic Staff Assembly, Associated Students of Madison, Council for Non-represented Classified Staff, and employee unions.

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5 Responses to Faculty Senate to debate principles for New Badger Partnership

  1. Starved for Information says:

    Thank you for this.

    I’ve been following this issue closely. Or I should say, I have TRIED to follow this closely. It’s an understatement to say that we lack “specific details”. We lack even the broadest outlines of what is actually being proposed and argued for. If rumors are right, the Chancellor could be fundamentally transforming the UW-Madison with literally no input from faculty, staff or students. After the way the ‘research enterprise’ was handled, and then the external consultant mess, people are very jumpy, to put it mildly.

    I hope you’ll keep us posted as you find out more about what’s going on here. Nobody else seems able or willing to.

  2. Monica Macaulay says:

    Thanks, S&W, for starting a conversation about this…

  3. Bracing says:

    There’s no doubt that many things very important to the well-being of UW employees are at stake now, whether you’re a professor or a mail carrier. The meltdown of the financial industry has so hurt retirement plans everywhere, and there is no doubt that our plans will have to be adjusted, and probably, a lot. Were such needs addressed in a sane and respectful manner, I think most of us could accept it with a spirit of sacrifice. But we have very poorly qualified legislators who have gotten into office not on the basis of anything they can do, but to punish someone else for what they weren’t able to do. What electorate in its right mind would choose Johnson over Feingold? Walker seems to me to have little understanding of anything, and just wants to dismantle the government and “open the state for business.” This is leadership? When was the last time there was a scintilla of creativity in the Republican agenda? I think we, UW and other state employees, are going to be heavily punished for simply existing. The real issues for the UW will be where we make the cuts and how we distribute the burden. My guess is that this will be done ineffectively and follow the faultlines of power politics on campus, to the tune of Go Down Moses. That’s the sorrow, in some ways campus politics are no better than state politics, and there is a fierce sense of entitlement on the part of those who have the most (faculty). But WE have no excuse. I truly hope we can show wisdom, integrity and fairness in dealing with our losses. That is a lesson our fellow tax-payers could learn from.

    Also, don’t forget Frances Fox Piven:


    What a world we live in, what a pack of charlatans inflame the votebot electorate. Read the comments to that Guardian article for much amusement.

  4. Admin says:

    It has been brought to our attention that, in last Friday’s public meeting of the NBP Working Group, the principles document was further refined. Apparently an updated version of the document will be posted to the Faculty Senate website as soon as it becomes available. S&W has not yet obtained a copy of the revisions.

  5. Admin says:

    The revised document 2244 has now been posted on the Faculty Senate website here: http://www.secfac.wisc.edu/senate/2011/0207/2244a.pdf

    The revisions are clearly marked.

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