JFC Testimony: Tom Luljak

This testimony can be watched at WisconsinEye:
beginning at 02:30:55

Tom Luljak
Vice Chancellor for University Relations

Good Afternoon.

I am Tom Luljak, Vice Chancellor for University Relations at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

I appear on behalf of our Chancellor, Mark Mone.   The Chancellor is unable to be with us today, he is traveling out-of-state,  but  he  has prepared a statement on the proposed 2015-17 biennial budget (PDF).  I have copies of the full text of the Chancellor ’s message  for all of the Committee members and I would like to submit it as written testimony for the Committee.

With more than 28,000 students, UW-Milwaukee is a vital part of our region.

A recent study shows that UWM’s economic impact on the local and regional economy is $1.5 Billion annually.

We enroll more Wisconsin students at UWM than at any other university in the state.   Each year more than 5,000 students graduate from UWM and join our workforce.  And I do mean OUR workforce.   74 percent of our graduates remain here in Wisconsin where they start their careers, often start their own businesses, and build a life for themselves and their families.

As one of the two public, doctoral research  universities, our faculty and students are deeply connected to our community… working side by side with industry in the development of new products and services…and with community organizations…helping to improve the lives of thousands of people through the service to others.

But the budget being proposed for the UW System will seriously threaten our ability to fulfill our mission here in Milwaukee.

The proposal would cut more than $40 million from UWM’s base budget over the next two years.   By comparison, the total of ALL base budget cuts over the past 15 years totaled $32 million.   Managing a $40 million reduction in just two years will extremely difficult.   Our goal is to do everything possible to protect our students and continue our research work, but unless the cuts are reduced, our programs will be significantly impacted.

Our request is this.  Reduce the size of the cuts to UWM and other campuses in the state….and please give us more flexibility in our business operations so that we can be more efficient and more effective in serving the people of Wisconsin.

Again, I submit Chancellor Mone’s statement, which includes additional information about the impact the proposed budget will have on UWM.

Thank You for your time.