Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
The State of Wisconsin 2015-’17 executive budget has been unveiled, and public opinion is streaming in quickly and from many voices. Your input is important to me, our campus and the state.
You have my commitment to keep you informed during this dynamic period of budget discussions. Today, I wanted to give you an update prior to next week’s Campus Budget Meeting and discussion that will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 10 from 9 to 10 a.m. in the Student Union Wisconsin Room. I highly encourage you to attend. The meeting will be live streamed for those who are unable to be there in person. We also will present additional information on the formation of the task forces I am creating to deal with the budget reductions and our strategy for communicating our story.
Over the last 24 hours, we have seen quite a controversy in proposed changes to the charge and mission statement of the University of Wisconsin System (UWS). Like many of you, I am relieved that this effort seems to have ended. Click here for a Journal Sentinel story about this topic. Our campus is fully dedicated to fulfilling the pledge of the Wisconsin Idea, and I am wholeheartedly committed to the ideals upon which our university was founded. The Wisconsin Idea serves as the heart of public higher education in our state. It must remain a part of our identity.
There has been a great deal of activity in our state capitol following the release of the budget on Tuesday night. Yesterday, I spent the day in Madison meeting with legislative leaders to make the case for why funding for UWM and UWS is so critical to the state’s future. In my meetings with representatives from both parties it was clear that there is a real appreciation for the critical mission that UWM has in serving the people of our state.
It is also clear from my conversations that there will be a robust and thorough debate and discussion about the planned cuts to our budget and the possible creation of a public authority. This will be a long process – a marathon, not a sprint – and I encourage all of you to remain engaged as we continue to communicate UWM’s story to our constituents and to the Legislature.
One of the tools we created and made available this week is a new state budget information website, which is linked off of our UWM home page. This is a central clearinghouse for information on the 2015-’17 executive budget as well as the discussions surrounding the budget bill. I encourage you to check the site often as it will be updated daily.
Additional information about the budget situation also will be forthcoming from the UWS Board of Regents meetings in which I am participating for the remainder of today and tomorrow. These meetings come at a critical time as the future of the UWS is being considered.
I, along with other chancellors, will give voice to the concerns we are hearing from you and many in our community – that we work toward limiting the amount of budget cuts that are directed at the UWS while, at the same time, supporting greater autonomy for us to control our daily operations.
As developments occur, I will continue to keep you updated.
Mark A. Mone