The UC began our weekly meeting with Joe LeMire, Chief of the UWM Police Department. LeMire has been at UWM for a year and a half, with 25 years of experience in law enforcement, coming most recently from UW-Oshkosh. His department has sponsored Coffee with a Cop socials with different student groups and will plan one with faculty coming in late February. His goal is to build relationships and protect campus communities. Members of the UC gave feedback on how to improve campus safety training so that it addresses faculty concerns and suggested that the police department consider implementing cultural diversity training for officers, particularly in regard for safety concerns expressed by our Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu students. LeMire said that his department offers safety inspections of campus spaces and training sessions tailored to departments and units. LeMire also noted that his officers are not trained in anything related to immigration. LeMire said that crime in the neighborhoods surrounding UWM had decreased over the last year, although the alert system has made the university community more aware of crime, which can give a false indication of increased prevalence.
We were also joined by the Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska, Dean of the Graduate School. Dean GJ brought up the important issue of graduate student stipends for teaching assistance, research assistants, and project assistants. The Grad School has been working hard to increase stipends and increase our ability to compete for top graduate students. There is still a funding gap, however, and the UC discussed ways to move money from other initiatives to fill that gap. Some thought that funds for the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Research Growth Initiative might be diverted to graduate student stipends. Members of the UC raised concerns that stipends should not be different based on discipline, and that not all project assistants who conduct research have been switched to research assistants.
In the Chair’s report, John Reisel reviewed his morning meeting with the Provost. The UC is considering issuing a joint statement on the recent executive order banning refugees and people from seven, Muslim-majority countries. The Provost continues to work with the College of Letters and Science and faculty from the Natural Sciences to bring them into alignment. Reisel also met with Deans to go over the UC guidelines for Post Tenure Review.
In members’ reports, the Affirmative Action for Faculty Employment Committee is testing an online climate survey that should be ready next month, the M3 initiative launched last week at MATC with the Mayor and other elected officials in attendance. Strategic Position Control met and learned that the university is rolling out a six-year forecasting tool for this budget cycle for all units on campus that submit budgets. Budget reductions are on track for most academic units except Lubar and Architecture & Urban Planning. The School of Education has reduced expenditures by 22% through increased teaching loads and 14 faculty departures. L&S has reduced expenditures by 7% but is expecting to increase that reduction through retirements. The university is at a $12 million reduction out of an overall goal of a $17 million reduction for the year.