UW System

Campus Speech Bill Passes Assembly

Assembly Bill 299, dubbed the Campus Free Speech Act, passed the Assembly Wednesday, June 21 on a 61-36 vote. Republican Bob Gannon of West Bend joined the Democrats in opposing the bill. A statement of PROFS’ opposition to the bill is here.

Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum), the bill’s main author, maintains the legislation is necessary to ensure all voices are heard on campus, citing incidents at Middlebury College and the University of California-Berkeley as evidence that free speech is stifled on college campuses.

PROFS lobbied against the bill, noting that in 2010 the University of Wisconsin Faculty Senate adopted a policy (Faculty Document 2186) that protects speech on campus. In 2015, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents adopted a resolution affirming academic freedom, including free speech, on all UW campuses.

Under the amended bill (below), the Board of Regents would be required to adopt a policy that would apply to all UW System institutions and supersede any existing Regent or campus policies. The legislation also requires mandatory punishments for students violators and employee and new student training on free speech annually.

The bill now moves to the State Senate.

June Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at UW-Milwaukee Thursday and Friday, June 8 and 9. Livestream coverage of the full board portion of the meeting is here.

The board meets in committee Thursday morning:

The Business and Finance and Audit Committees will meet jointly in closed session to discuss an information security audit.

The Business and Finance Committee will hear a presentation on UW-Milwaukee’s response to fiscal pressures and consider several contractual agreements.

The Education Committee will consider approval of a new UW-Madison PhD program in Biomedical Data Science and hear several presentations, including one on UW-Milwaukee’s efforts to close the achievement gap.

The Audit Committee will hear the FY17 Audit Plan Progress Report

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will consider several new construction projects and hear reports on the State Building Commission, leasing agreements, and capital projects.

The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear three presentations on entrepreneurial efforts.

The full board meets Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Three new members will be welcomed — UW-Eau Claire student Ryan Ring, representing traditional undergraduate students; Green Bay banker Robert Atwell; and Milwaukee attorney Mike Jones.

Thursday afternoon, the board will hear from UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone and Rockwell Automation President and CEO Blake Moret. UW-Extension Provost and Vice Chancellor Aaron Brower will provide an update on the UW Flex Option program.

Friday morning, the board will hear reports from UW System President Ray Cross and Regent President Regina Millner, vote on committee action, present Academic Staff Excellence Awards, and elect new officers.

 

 

Hillman Recommendations on Outcomes-Based Funding Proposal

Nicholas Hillman

University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education professor Nicholas Hillman, an expert on higher education financing and state funding models, prepared the following recommendation for members of the Joint Committee on Finance as they consider an outcomes-based funding proposal in the 2017-19 state budget.

The committee is scheduled to discuss the University of Wisconsin System portion of the 2017-19 state budget at noon, Thursday, May 25. Livestream coverage is available on WisconsinEye.

Legislative Fiscal Bureau Budget Papers

The following papers were prepared by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau in advance of the Joint Finance Committee executive session on the University of Wisconsin System portion of the 2017-19 biennial budget.

Each paper includes a summary of Governor Walker’s budget provision and discussion points, along with options for the committee to consider when voting on that particular budget item.

Legislative Update

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee statewide public hearings on the 2017-19 budget proposal last month and began voting on individual items last week. PROFS is meeting with university and legislative leaders to discuss several items in the budget proposal:

State funding tied to performance measures The Board of Regents would rank all UW institutions and distribute funds based on:

  • Affordability/Attainability, 30%
  • Student Success in State Workforce, 30%
  • Work Readiness, 15%
  • Efficiency, 10%
  • Additional Criteria, 15%

UW Pay plan A pay plan tied to presumed savings from a switch to self-insurance (see below) for all state employees would be offered in 2018 and 2019.

Policy Items in the budget The co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee said last month all policy items in the budget would be removed, but could be considered after being vetted in committee or as part of the committee’s omnibus motion. Several policy items dealt with the university:

  • Require the Board of Regents to create policies for the monitoring and reporting of teaching workload and a mechanism to reward those who teach more than an undefined “standard academic workload.”
  • Add language to state statutes that would give the university new power to regulate expression and criticism of that expression.
  • Allow students to opt out of allocable segregated fees.
  • Require institutions to develop 3-year degree programs.
  • Require students to have internship/work experience before graduating.
  • Require 60 credits transferable between UW and WTCS.

Self-Insurance

The Group Insurance Board recommended a switch to self-insurance beginning in 2018, but the Joint Finance Committee must review the proposed changes before they go into effect. The committee received the formal recommendation to switch to self-insurance today and has 21 days to decide whether or not to reject the plan. The committee co-chairs and other members have publicly expressed concern over the plan in the past.

Video from the PROFS/ASPRO forum on self-insurance is here.

Campus Free Speech Legislation

Several legislators, including the chairs of the Legislature’s higher education committees, announced their plans to introduce legislation that would direct the Board of Regents to draft a free speech policy that encourages all points of view. Regents would also be required to create rules that discipline students who interfere with campus free speech. PROFS is concerned about the reach of these proposals and has begun working with UW free speech experts on a response to these proposals.

AB 299 (below), sponsored by Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) was introduced last week, and Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) intends to introduce legislation (below) later this month.

 

 

Video from PROFS/ASPRO Self-insurance Forum

PROFS/ASPRO 2017 Self-insurance forum

PROFS and ASPRO recently partnered to host a campus forum on self-insurance. UW-Madison Chemistry professor Judith Burstyn, PROFS President, moderated. Our panelists (from left to right):• Lisa Ellinger, Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds• Peter Farrow, Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire General Manager and CEO• Justin Sydnor, UW-Madison School of Business professorWhile the panelists were able to take several questions from the audience, many questions remained. Those questions are listed here: https://www.facebook.com/PROFSUWMadison/photos/a.737713292923623.1073741831.156836447677980/1606444092717201/?type=3

Posted by PROFS UW-Madison on Thursday, April 20, 2017

Joint Finance Committee Removes Non-Fiscal Policy Items from Budget Proposal

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee removed 83 non-fiscal policy items from Governor Walker’s budget proposal, including rules on faculty teaching load and freedom of expression on UW campuses. The committee chairs say the items should be considered as non-budget legislation by other committees.

Several additional provisions removed by the co-chairs relate to the University of Wisconsin System, including:

  • allowing students to opt out of certain allocable fees
  • requiring students to have work experience or an internship before graduation
  • requiring campuses to outline a plan for three-year degrees

PROFS and ASPRO Forum on Self-Insurance

PROFS and ASPRO, the Academic Staff Professionals Representation Organization, are partnering to sponsor a public forum on self-insurance at 4 pm, Thursday, April 13 in the Plenary Room of Grainger Hall, 975 University Avenue.

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Group Insurance Board recommended a switch to self-insurance for all state employees beginning in 2018, and Governor Scott Walker has earmarked the projected savings to fund a pay plan for UW System employees and increase K-12 funding in the next biennium. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee must review the proposed changes before they go into effect, and most of the committee has publicly expressed deep concern over the plan.

So where does that leave the proposal? PROFS and ASPRO have assembled a panel of experts who will share their knowledge about self-insurance and state employee health plans and take questions from the audience, including:

  • Will the Group Insurance Board reduce the number of eligible health plans even if self-insurance fails?
  • How will the state replace the earmarked funds if self-insurance fails?
  • How might a switch to self-insurance affect the state’s health insurance marketplace?
  • Are the projected savings from a switch realistic?

The panel:

  • Justin Sydnor, UW-Madison School of Business Associate Professor, Risk and Insurance. Sydnor is an applied microeconomist specializing in behavioral economics. His interests include the study of risk aversion and insurance choices, discrimination, and issues surrounding self-control and commitment.
  • Lisa Ellinger, Director of the Office of Strategic Health Policy, Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF). Before joining ETF, Ellinger was the assistant director of the Wisconsin Health Project. She is also an alum of UW-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs.
  • Peter Farrow, General Manager and CEO of Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire. Farrow is past president of the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans, an advocacy organization opposed to self-insurance. A graduate of Marquette University, he was previously Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Insurance in Wisconsin.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.