The University Committee, which also serves as the PROFS board of Directors, released a statement today on how they worked with UW-Madison administration as Fall 2021 COVID-19 policies were developed. The statement is below.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank appeared on PBS Wisconsin’s Here and Now last week to discuss the university’s plans for in-person learning this fall. Classes begin September 8 with a majority of courses offered in-person. While UW-Madison does not have a vaccine mandate, any student, faculty member or staff person who is unvaccinated must test weekly.
State Representative Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee) appeared on WISN’s UPFRONT yesterday to discuss recent action by the Legislature’s Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) that would require UW System to promulgate emergency rules for COVID-19 related policies within 30 days. The committee, which is co-chaired by Neylon and State Senator Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), would then approve or suspend the proposed rules.
Neylon told host Adrienne Pedersen the committee’s intent is to prevent overreach by the university:
“Too often, we’ve allowed agencies, the administration, the UW System, to circumvent the legislative process in doing these unilateral rules that have the same impact as law, without going through the legal legislative process.”
PROFS is strongly opposed to the action of the JCRAR. Our statement is here.
PROFS has a strong record of advocating for the best possible pay plans for University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty and staff and our work during 2021-23 budget process is no different. The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on a pay plan for state employees, including those at UW-Madison Thursday. This is the letter we shared with committee members earlier today.
Tomorrow, the Wisconsin State Assembly is scheduled to vote on Assembly Joint Resolution 32, legislation that would declare April to be Freedom of Expression Month across Wisconsin. The resolution was introduced last week by State Representative Dave Murphy (R-Greenville) and State Senator André Jacque (R-De Pere). Murphy chairs the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities.
While PROFS is committed to the principles of free expression, it finds this resolution to be an attack on the state’s colleges and universities:
On Wednesday, Emeritus Professor Steve Ventura (Soil Science) testified at a public hearing of the Assembly Agriculture Committee in favor of Assembly Bill 77, legislation that provides $1 million per year in funding for state specialists in extension services at UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The funding is to aid in applied agricultural research.
PROFS submitted the testimony below and Ventura, a former PROFS Steering Committee member, spoke about the importance of such funding.
In an executive session yesterday, the committee unanimously recommended passage of the bill. The next step is for the bill to be scheduled for a vote in the full Assembly.
Earlier this week, Governor Tony Evers announced his nearly $2.4 billion 2021-23 capital budget proposal. His plan includes about $1 billion for UW System, including four major projects at UW-Madison:
- A new College of Letters and Science building to replace the aging Mosse Humanities Building, $88 million
- The first phase of a new College of Engineering building to replace the 82-year-old Computer Aided Engineering Center, $150 million
- Restoration of the 140-year-old Music Hall on Bascom Hill, $26 million
- Underground utility work on the Engineering campus, an area prone to damaging floods, $73 million
WKOW-TV has more on the UW-Madison portion of the capital budget proposal:
This legislative update will be shared with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate today. The senate meets the first Monday of every month at 3:30 pm during the academic year, October through May, except in January. Guests are welcome to observe the livestreamed meetings and can find the link here.