by Michelle Felber • • Comments Off on University Committee Chair’s Message to Faculty on UW System Tenure Task Force
The following message was sent to UW-Madison faculty on Friday, October 23:
Dear UW-Madison faculty,
I know many of you have seen the letter that UW System President Ray Cross sent to the faculty representatives earlier this week. You may have also heard about some of the conversations that were held at the System tenure task force yesterday afternoon. I want to assure you that none of this changes our approach to developing tenure policies for this campus. Before Act 55, the state had a single statute that allowed campuses to develop and implement their own faculty policies and procedures. It has always been our assumption that the policy that will be developed by the Regents in response to Act 55 would similarly allow variations from campus to campus.
The documents that will be submitted to the Senate in November reflect input from the faculty listening sessions, as well as the written revisions submitted after the October Senate reading. We believe that our proposed policies are very strong. We have always been clear that we would draft UW-Madison policies that reflect the language in Act 55 and that are congruent with AAUP standards and our policies of shared governance and strong tenure protections.
I want to make it completely clear that nothing has changed in our approach and we look forward to discussing our proposals with you on November 2nd at the Faculty Senate.
Recent school shootings have elevated discussions across the country about gun safety, protecting the rights of citizens, and protecting the safety of our schools. This is a serious issue and there are many questions to consider.
The UW-Madison Police Department and the University of Wisconsin-Madison support existing state law, which appropriately balances individual rights with community safety. We oppose any legislation that would allow citizens to legally carry concealed weapons inside university buildings. Current policies at UW-Madison allow concealed carry on university lands – but not in buildings.
To us, as law enforcement professionals at UWPD, the evidence does not support the ideathat our campus would be safer if concealed firearms are allowed in our buildings. In states that allow concealed carry, these mass shooting tragedies have still occurred. According to 2014 FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) numbers, you are less likely to become a victim of a violent crime at UW-Madison – which currently does not allow concealed weapons in buildings – than you are in the state of Wisconsin as a whole.
Allowing concealed weapons inside a building like Camp Randall Stadium, filled with 80,000 people, creates a major security issue. The training required to obtain a concealed carry permit is minimal.
We urge our legislators not to change the existing law. Doing so would put the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and guests at risk.
We take the safety of our campus communities very seriously and know that our legislative partners do as well. We have significant concerns and questions with this proposal and cannot currently support it. We are, however, actively engaged in a dialogue with the legislative authors, Regents, and campus police professionals to ensure our concerns are addressed.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet in Madison Thursday and Friday, October 8 and 9. Meetings will take place in Gordon Dining and Event Center at UW-Madison, 770 West Dayton Street. Livestream coverage of the full board meetings is here.
The report on faculty turnover shows that UW-Madison had a turnover rate of 3.89 percent among tenured faculty and 3.58% among probationary faculty in fiscal year 2015. Half of tenured faculty who left UW-Madison cited salary as the primary reason for leaving.
The Education Committee will discuss a plan to waive non-resident enrollment limits at UW-Madison and hear reports on campus accreditations, high school to college success, and preliminary enrollment figures.
The full board meets Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. The regents will discuss the 2014-15 Program Revenue Fund Balance Report and credit transfers Thursday and work of the Tenure Policy Task Force and remedial education Friday. According to the fund balance report, UW-Madison held $52.25 million in unrestricted reserve funds — 13.8 percent of the total. All other unrestricted monies fall under the categories of obligated, planned, or designated.