PolitiFact Wisconsin recently examined Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca’s statement that the average UW-Madison faculty member brings in almost $250,000 in grant money each year. Barca made the statement in an interview with WisconsinEye on March 12, saying Governor Scott Walker’s proposed $300 million budget cut to UW System could harm faculty research on campus.
PolitiFact found Barca’s statement to be “mostly true.” UW-Madison’s Data Digest shows that in 2012-13, 59 percent of faculty brought in more than $525 million in external grants, which averages $242,000 per faculty member.
State Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison), former Department of Administration (Thompson and McCallum) Secretary George Lightbourn, and Associate Vice Chancellor for Government and Corporate Affairs Charles Hoslet will share their expertise and take questions.
Questions at the forum include:
What is the likelihood public authority will remain in the budget?
What flexibilities can the university expect if public authority is removed?
Will the $300 million budget cut be reduced? If so, by how much?
How will tenure and shared governance look in Board of Regent policy?
What is the timeline for the budget and how can the budget change?
Legislative Fiscal Bureau budget papers can be found here once they are published.
Representatives John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Dean Knudson (R-Hudson), co-chair and member of the Joint Finance Committee, respectively, announced they will recommend changes to Governor Scott Walker’s budget plan for UW System (below).
The legislators said they will work to reduce the $300 million cut proposed by the governor, but will not support full public authority for the system, saying the university indicated it was not interested in significant change:
“(I)t is clear from their response that the Regents, Chancellors and university administrators are not ready for this level of independence. We believe the legislature must maintain control and supervision over the university system.”
Nygren and Knudson also support tuition increases for graduate and out-of-state students while continuing to freeze tuition for two more years. They also want campuses to spend down reserves.
Democratic leaders and members of the Joint Committee on Finance announced yesterday they would hold nine public listening sessions over the next few weeks in an effort to receive more public input on the proposed state budget.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) told WisconsinEye senior producer Steve Walters he believed Governor Scott Walker’s proposed $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System budget was too large and he would support a smaller cut if state revenues allow.
Vos, appearing with Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) on Civil Dialogue, also said he does not support full public authority status for the system. The full video is embedded below. Remarks about the UW System begin at the 13 minute mark and continue for about 7 minutes.
Vos said Board of Regent action last week suggests the Regents are unlikely to implement major changes to tenure and “all these different things,” making full public authority unnecessary. He questioned the need for public authority if the board is going to protect the status quo and fears a large tuition increase would be the outcome of public authority.
Instead, Vos said he supports specific management flexibilities in procurement and building projects. Vos later told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the legislature has the ability to end tenure and shared governance.
Barca told Walters the budget proposal would devastate the UW System and would result in increased time to degree for students and the loss of faculty members to other universities. Barca also noted the average UW-Madison faculty member brings in an average of $250,000 in outside funding which would also be lost.
With regard to flexibility, Barca said he supports flexibility, but increased autonomy would make up only a small percentage of the budget cuts.
American Association of University Professors President Rudy Fichtenbaum released a statement (below) yesterday calling for the University of Wisconsin System administration to oppose the proposal to transform UW System from a state agency into a public authority.
Fichtenbaum says the proposal could profoundly undermine tenure, due process, and shared governance. In particular, he is concerned about the statutory removal of these faculty rights.