Mar 3, 2015

We discussed our ongoing efforts to reaffirm Chapter 36. We highlighted the destabilizing results of both our fiscal situation and our future governance structure, so we keep asking the Board of Regents to adopt all current Chapter 36 contents as they stand. While there seems to be some support for that idea, there is also resistance. We pointed out the fact that the elimination of the public authority does not necessarily secure Chapter 36, and continued to discuss the ever-shifting sands of the radical changes proposed for higher education in Wisconsin.

A Letter To System President Cross

The following letter is being circulated among UW System faculty, staff, students and alumni. It was generated by a UWM faculty member, and we post it here for your information. If you are interested in signing it, please visit this link.
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(February 25, 2015)

Dear President Cross,

We write to insist in the strongest possible terms that you come out immediately and publicly against the Governor’s budget plan to transform the University of Wisconsin System to a public authority at this time. We also ask that you oppose the $300 million in cuts that the System is being asked to absorb in exchange for public authority.

Your editorial in yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel claims “the tools to build a more stable and sustainable UW System of the future are within the state budget proposal.” But there is no evidence as to how these tools function or what impacts they will achieve. Moreover, there is an almost complete lack of detail in the current proposal; an absence of any public or system-wide examination of the structure and composition of the governing board of a new public authority; a failure to undertake any serious economic study of the costs of the transition to a public authority, its sustainability, or the size of the benefits a public authority might yield; and the total removal of any statutory protection for tenure, shared governance, indefinite employment status, or any of the academic and fiscal provisions spelled out in Chapter 36. Given this, we demand that you call for an immediate moratorium on any move to a public authority until the next biennium, pending a thorough study and widespread public input into the transition and structure of such an authority.

Since the budget cuts are a quid pro quo for public authority, we urge that in your upcoming testimony to the Joint Finance Committee you request tabling the $300 million of proposed cuts to the next biennium. A moratorium would provide time for the University System and the citizens of Wisconsin to learn what the scope of the efficiencies of a public authority might actually be. Further, such a moratorium would allow the System, the Legislature, and the citizens of Wisconsin to do their due diligence on this seismic shift in the governance and financing of the University of Wisconsin System.

We believe that your efforts to adopt these positions would represent a positive step on the behalf of System administration to perform the kind of due diligence that any large organization or firm would do before making such a radical change in its funding and institutional structure. Your leadership would help reverse the growing loss of confidence in system administration among faculty, staff, and students in system schools, as well as protecting the national and international reputation of the University of Wisconsin System from potentially irreparable damage.

Statement by the UC re: Budget & Chap 36

(to be submitted for endorsement by the UW-Milwaukee Faculty Senate on March 12, 2015)

The University of Wisconsin-System and its constituent campuses are the envy of the nation in terms of academic quality and reputation because of our robust protection of academic freedom and our shared governance practices.
Therefore, we unequivocally oppose the repeal of sections from Chapter 36 State Statutes, especially those protecting faculty/staff appointments and benefits, as well as those providing authority for faculty, staff, and student shared governance.
Further, we call upon the Board of Regents and UW-System Administration to unequivocally express their support for protecting faculty/staff appointments and benefits, as well as for faculty, staff, and student shared governance authority, by quickly affirming in Board of Regents Policy all current Chapter 36 provisions related to these guarantees.
Additionally, as previously stated in our January 29th Faculty Senate Resolution, we again call “for an open process to analyze the proposed public authority”, such that its complete costs and benefits can be fully understood, prior to any consideration for implementation by the Legislature.
Lastly, we reiterate our strong opposition to the proposed $300 million cut to the whole UW-System, and likely $40 million UW-Milwaukee share of it. Such an overwhelming cut would be a significant setback that will permanently alter our future, impairing our abilities to meet the needs of students and fulfill our research mission. Unnecessarily harming UW-Milwaukee at this crucial time is not the path that leads to a brighter future. Southeastern Wisconsin and the whole State need more not less of what we have to offer.

UW-Milwaukee University Committee (Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate)
Mark D. Schwartz, Chair
Margo Anderson
Michael Brondino
Lane Hall
Sandra McLellan
John Reisel
Luc Vanier

Upcoming Budget Forums

The next three campus budget forums have been set as follows:

Monday, February 23rd 10:00-11:00am in the Union Wisconsin Room.
Tuesday, March 3rd 2:30-3:30pm in the Union Fireside Lounge
Tuesday, March 10th 11:00am – 12:00 noon in the Union Wisconsin Room.

Feb 17, 2015

We discussed the upcoming Faculty Senate meeting, and various resolutions that are currently in play. We noted that there will be three Regents at the meeting: Pruitt, Vasquez and Farrow. Chancellor Mone, Vice Chancellor Luljack, and Provost Britz arrived and we discussed our communications strategy. They have been meeting with legislators, who according to the Chancellor, recognize how massive the cuts are. How do we continue to advocate for our position? Luljack discussed the role of the newly formulated Communications Task Force and our need to reach out beyond our own immediate community. The legislators have said “We need to know how you make a difference” which is the fundamental role of the new “e-newsletter.” We responded with some cynicism about this “tell your story” request, though agreed that we need to get our supporters to advocate for us.

We then discussed how the focus on massive cuts is occluding the issues of public authority and potential changes in shared governance. We are pursuing information, along with Dean Swain, about the ways that other universities’ public authorities are structured, and whether regents are appointed or elected. We further discussed various aspects of control regarding the system.

We reviewed Mark Schwartz’s report for the upcoming Senate, which includes a strong statement about the practice of faculty governance.

Feb 10, 2015

We discussed the morning’s all campus meeting led by the Chancellor. When the Provost visited we discussed the many questions and concerns revolving around the State’s proposed budget cuts and the proposed shift in governance models. L&S Dean Swain visited. We talked about retirements, and how to get greater visibility to UWM within the community. He next itemized the recent meetings that L&S has had, including the last L&S Faculty and Staff meeting where people vocalized their frustrations about internal communications and messaging to the public regarding this current crisis. The Dean also discussed the two ad-hoc committees he has formed: 1) to investigate the histories and structures of public authority, and 2) on media and the UW System. While L&S will be looking at restructuring and efficiencies, it was pointed out that it was already a very, very lean operation. There are concerns about who will share in the pain of the inevitable cuts. In other words, to take the cuts as we have traditionally allocated them is not acceptable. We talked about the serious problem of IT on campus, with high level L&S IT workers leaving UWM due to perceived insecurity, and UITS not able to fulfill the necessary functions that L&S needs due to lack of staffing.

Campus Budget Meeting: Feb 10

There will be a Campus Budget Meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015
from 9-10 a.m.
in the Wisconsin Room, Union.

UWM Chancellor Mark Mone will lead a discussion on Governor Scott Walker’s plan to cut the University of Wisconsin System budget by $300 million over two years.

The meeting will be available via livestreaming: http://uwm.edu/streamingvideo/universityrelations/
The stream will also appear on YouTube: http://youtu.be/x48ZRPiIpyg
To keep up to date with the many aspects of the budget discussion, visit http://uwm.edu/budget/

To see the archive of articles, click on the “News Stories” link above.