Category: UW

Legislative Update

The Wisconsin Legislature continues to propose legislation and hold public meetings, and PROFS is lobbying on and monitoring several pieces of legislation: 

  • Assembly Bill 195/Senate Bill 323  PROFS registered against these bills that prohibit transgender women from participating in UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System intercollegiate, intramural, and club sports. AB 195 passed the Assembly but failed passage 2-3 in a Senate committee. However, it could still be scheduled for vote in the Senate floor this session. Our statement on this legislation is on the PROFS website.
  • Assembly Bill 370/Senate Bill 260  PROFS registered against these bills that prohibit UW System and UW Hospital and Clinics from, while in the scope of their employment, performing or assisting the performance of an abortion. This legislation could jeopardize the accreditation of the obstetrics and gynecology residency program. AB 370 failed passage 2-3 in committee but could still be scheduled for a floor vote this session.
  • Assembly Bill 413/Senate Bill 409  PROFS is registered against these bills that essentially bans instruction on systemic racism at UW System and the Wisconsin Technical College System. A public hearing was held on AB 413 in October and our testimony in opposition to the bill is on the PROFS website. We are also registered against legislation that targets K-12 public schools (AB 411/SB 411) and training for state and local government employees (AB 414/SB 410).
  • Assembly Bill 568/Senate Bill 557  PROFS is registered in favor of these bills that expand the type of revenue the university currently is allowed to invest to generate additional returns.
  • Assembly Bill 639/Senate Bill 602  PROFS is registered in favor of this legislation. The bill will provide funding $180,000 in funding in each of the next two years for UW-Madison’s Missing-in-Action Recovery Project.
  • Senate Bill 728  PROFS is registered in favor of this bipartisan legislation that would provide $1 million to plan and design a new engineering building at UW-Madison.

UW System Presidential Search and UW-Madison Chancellor Search

The UW System Presidential Search Committee met in closed session last week to discuss and interview semi-finalist candidates. Regents have said they hope to announce a new president in early 2022.

Last month, the Board of Regents voted to approve changes to Regent Policy Document 6.4, which outlines President and Chancellor searches. PROFS worked with UW System Interim President Tommy Thompson and the Regents, and successfully advocated for the changes which will allow for greater representation of shared governance groups on search committees. The UW-Madison Chancellor Search Committee was announced last Thursday. A list of committee members is on the PROFS website.

 

 

December Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet in Madison on Thursday and Friday, December 9 and 10. The meeting will be held in the Gordon Dining and Event Center, 770 West Dayton Street. Webex coverage of the meeting is also available by registering here.

Regents are meeting in committee Thursday morning:

The Business and Finance Committee has many agenda items that relate to UW-Madison — a proposal to increase out-of-state tuition rates by 2%, generating an additional $8 million for the university; the approval of several agreements and contracts; the annual faculty turnover report; and a presentation that outlines a possible real estate strategy that would benefit the university economically.

The Education Committee will hear several reports, consider approval of 4 new degree programs at UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point and UW-River Falls, and discuss extending the temporary suspension of the requirement for ACT or SAT requirements for admission to UW System institutions through 2024-25,

The Audit Committee will hear several updates and reports on compliance and annual audits.

The Capital Planning & Budget Committee will consider granting approval to plan or revise several building projects, including the new Data Sciences and Engineering buildings. The committee will also hear a number of reports, including a presentation on UW-Madison’s proposed real estate strategy for future economic growth for the institution (mentioned above).

The Research, Economic Development & Innovation Committee will hear updates on UW-Madison’s biotechnology research and university-industry partnerships that could grow Midwestern technology hubs.

The full board will meet at 1 pm Thursday. Regent President Ed Manydeeds will provide an update on the UW System Presidential search and the UW-Madison Chancellor search. UW System Interim President Tommy Thompson will also provide an update on winter commencement and legislative and staffing issues before the board moves into closed session.

The board will meet at 8:45 am Friday morning and vote on committee action from Thursday. The board will also recognize the service of Regent Emerita Olivia Woodmansee. An optional closed session rounds out the agenda.

 

UW-Madison Chancellor Search Committee Named

Last week, University of Wisconsin Board of Regents President Ed Manydeeds announced the UW-Madison Chancellor Search Committee. The 21-member committee will be chaired by Regent Vice President Karen Walsh, and Electrical & Computer Engineering Professor Susan Hagness will serve as vice chair. In addition to Hagness, the committee includes Professors Jon Eckhardt (Business), Adena Rissman (Forest & Wildlife Ecology), Ananth Seshadri (Economics) and Anja Wanner (English).

Last month, the Regents voted to approve changes to Regent Policy Document 6.4, which outlines President and Chancellor searches. PROFS worked with UW System Interim President Tommy Thompson and the Regents, and successfully advocated for the changes which allows for greater representation of shared governance groups on search committees.

The full committee:

  • Chair Karen Walsh, Regent
  • Vice-Chair Susan Hagness, Professor and Department Chair, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Amy Blumenfeld Bogost, Regent
  • Jon Eckhardt, Associate Professor, School of Business
  • Ndemazea Fonkem, Student
  • Gail Ford, Director, PEOPLE Program, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement
  • Robert Golden, Dean, School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Luis Gonzalez-Quizhpe, Student
  • Erik Iverson, Chief Executive Officer, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
  • Mike Jones, Regent
  • Tracey L. Klein, Regent
  • Aerin Leigh Lammers, Student
  • Edmund Manydeeds III, Regent President
  • John W. Miller, Regent
  • Adena Rissman, Professor, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology
  • Ananth Seshadri, Professor and Department Chair, Department of Economics
  • Jack Salzwedel, Community Representative
  • Mike Shannon, Community Representative
  • Samantha Skenandore, Community Representative
  • Lisa Walters, Administrative Manager, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
  • Anja Wanner, Professor and Department Chair, Department of English

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank Discusses Plans for Combating Covid-19 as In-Person Learning Resume

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 Rep. Adam Neylon on Committee Oversight of UW COVID-19 Policies

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 Asks Joint Finance Committee for Strong Pay Plan for UW Faculty and Staff

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.

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PROFS Statement on AJR 32, Declaring April to be Freedom of Expression Month

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:

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PROFS Testimony on AB 77, Providing Funding for Extension Services

Emeritus Professor Steve Ventura

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.

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