Forty-five years ago, a group of UW-Madison faculty led by Law Professor Marygold Melli created PROFS, a non-profit organization whose mission was to advocate on behalf of UW-Madison faculty to the Legislature, Governor, Regents and members of Congress.
While many years have passed, PROFS continues to work hard to make sure faculty voices are heard in the legislative process. We extend our gratitude to those faculty members who have supported us and helped ensure our success since 1977.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank delivered her final address to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents last Thursday, February 10. Her remarks were part of the board’s two-day February meeting which was hosted by UW-Madison at Union South. Chancellor Blank is leaving UW-Madison at the end of the spring semester to become president of Northwestern University.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet in Madison on Thursday and Friday, February 10 and 11. UW-Madison is hosting the meeting, which will be held in Union South’s Varsity Hall, 1308 West Dayton Street. Registration for the Webex videoconference of the meeting is here.
Regents are invited to a site visit and reception at the College of Engineering Wednesday evening. Regent business will not be conducted during this informational visit. A new building on the Engineering campus is top priority of UW-Madison, and Governor Tony Evers recently signed bipartisan legislation providing $1 million to plan and design the building.
Regents begin the two-day meeting with committee work on Thursday morning:
The Audit Committee will discuss several reports and consider a new policy relating to youth programs on UW System campuses.
The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will hear a presentation by UW-Madison on future facilities planning and consider granting authority for UW-Madison to sell two parcels of land to University Research Park and design and renovate two lab spaces.
The Research, Economic Development and Innovation Committee will hear a report from UW-Madison on recent biotechnology research and discuss corporate research and clinical trial contracting processes.
The Business and Finance Committee will hear a report from UW-Madison on strategic investments and consider approval of several agreements at UW-Madison and UW System. They will also hear updates on the budget and gifts, grants, and contracts.
The Education Committee will consider approval of a realignment of academic units at UW-Milwaukee, a transfer agreement between UW-Stevens Point and North Central Technical College, and ten new degree programs, including three at UW-Madison. Committee members will also discuss a change to the class audit policy and application fees waivers and reductions. UW-Madison will also host a presentation on student academic success.
The full board meeting Thursday afternoon includes updates from Regent President Edmund Manydeeds and a presentation from UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. The Regents will move into closed session to discuss compensation agreements for three UW-Madison football coaches, an employee who earns more than 75% of the UW System President’s salary, and UW System chancellors and president. The Regents will also discuss crime prevention and detection strategies.
On Friday, the Regents will hear an update from outgoing UW System Interim President Tommy Thompson. Thompson has served as interim president since June 2020 and will step down March 18. Last month, Regents named Milwaukee attorney Jay Rothman as UW System President. Rothman begins his duties June 1 and former Regent President Michael Falbo will serve as interim president from March 18 until Rothman takes office.
The Regents have cancelled their one-day meeting on March 10.
This legislative update was shared with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate y. 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 attend meetings, which are held in Room 272 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Drive.
The Wisconsin Legislature has been busy with committee hearings and floor sessions, and Governor Tony Evers is scheduled to deliver his State of the State address on February 15. Evers and members of the Legislature will make a final legislative push over the next several weeks before turning their attention the November elections.
Democratic Governor Tony Evers is running for re-election, but Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes has instead joined a crowded field of Democrats vying to challenge two-term Republican Senator Ron Johnson. The Republican race for the gubernatorial nomination heated up last week when Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson announced his candidacy, challenging former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch for the Republican nomination.
PROFS is actively 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 413/Senate Bill 409 PROFS is registered against these bills that essentially ban instruction on systemic racism at UW System and the Wisconsin Technical College System. Last week, the Committee on Colleges & Universities recommended passage of the bill along party lines, 10-4. PROFS’ statement in opposition to the bill is on our website. PROFS was also registered against similar legislation targeting K-12 public schools which was vetoed by Gov. Evers last Friday. PROFS is also registered against legislation that targets 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. Both bills passed unanimously in committee but neither have been scheduled for a floor vote.
- 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. SB 602 passed in committee but has not been scheduled for a floor vote.
- Assembly Bill 775/Senate Bill 728 PROFS registered in favor of this bipartisan legislation that provides $1 million to plan and design a new engineering building at UW-Madison. Gov. Evers signed this bill into law late last month.
UW System Presidential Search and UW-Madison Chancellor Search
The UW System Board of Regents named Milwaukee attorney Jay Rothman as UW System President. Rothman, Chair and CEO of Foley & Lardner, will begin in June. He is a graduate of Marquette University and Harvard Law School. The UW-Madison Chancellor Search Committee released a position description last month and is accepting nominations until March 11. The committee hopes to announce finalists for the position in April.