Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
It’s day two of the Fall 2017 semester and I have several updates to share. But first, I hope that you are enjoying the vibrancy on our campus and are transitioning well for this new term.
Yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects from deportation an estimated 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as minors. UWM remains committed to supporting the continuation of the DACA program and providing support for students who are impacted. Last week I sent a letter to our nation’s president to express support for continuing DACA. Given that legislative action is now necessary to restore DACA’s protections, I am sending a letter to our Congressional delegates today to urge their swift action on this issue. I also reaffirmed my joint commitment with many other college chancellors and presidents by signing on to a letter last November that supports DACA and undocumented student immigrants. Our Roberto Hernandez Center (RHC) together with the Undocumented Student Task Force Group is working diligently to communicate with students about resources available to them. Below you will find a list of events that will help address the immediate needs of our students, faculty and staff.
- September 7 – The Roberto Hernandez Center (Bolton Hall 183) will host DACA listening sessions from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., and again from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
- September 12 – The Inclusive Excellence Center (Student Union W119) will host a DACA listening session from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
- September 13 – The LGBTRC (Student Union WG89) will host a DACA listening session from 5:30-7:00 p.m.
The sessions provide a safe space to share thoughts and feelings and to receive support from campus staff. Later this month the Undocumented Student Task Force will organize a panel of immigration lawyers to answer legal questions and provide an update on what the changes to DACA mean. We will share more information as it becomes available.
The task force will continue to provide training and updates about undocumented students and DACA, including ways to support those who are impacted.
On the local legislative front, we are seeing positive movement on the 2017-19 biennial state budget. Last week the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted to fund several state building projects along with major maintenance and repairs. The JFC included in its vote $52.2M for renovations to the Northwest Quadrant and $33.5M in bonding authority for Sandburg Residence Hall infrastructure renovation. Both projects will positively impact the student experience and instructional space for faculty and students. Additionally, the committee is supporting the governor’s recommendation to retain what is known as ‘all-agency’ funding for maintenance and repairs. Earlier this summer, the JFC approved – separate from the biennial budget – a 2% increase in compensation in September 2018 and a 2% increase in May 2019 for UW System employees. Please note that the compensation increases require final approval by Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations before being implemented.
The JFC met again yesterday afternoon on funding for roads, tax cuts and a proposed $3 billion tax incentive package for Foxconn Technology Group, a global electronics manufacturer. The committee approved a new version of the Foxconn bill. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill on Sept. 12. If an incentive package is ultimately approved, then higher education – including UWM – needs to be at the table. There are major implications for engineering, computer science, medicine, business management and many more occupations that are critical to the Wisconsin economy. I have provided informational testimony at two public hearings that were held in August and am part of a group of regional education and business leaders who are developing a talent development strategy.
Finally, I want to update you on our progress to fill existing vacancies for the positions of Chief Enrollment Officer (CEO) and Senior Student Affairs (SSAO). The CEO will lead a newly created Division of Enrollment Management, which will be responsible for undergraduate enrollment management functions. The SSAO will lead the Division of Student Affairs by providing vision, policy direction and operational oversight of the administration of a comprehensive range of student-centered services. For details about this development including the units in each division, please see here. Both positions will report directly to me and will be members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet. Search committees for both roles have been established with Psychology Professor Bonnie Klein-Tasman chairing the SSAO search and Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science Paul Roebber chairing CEO recruitment.
We are off to an energetic start to what is surely to be a dynamic fall semester. Once again, I welcome you all and wish you the best during our first few weeks back together in our campus community.
Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee