PROFS Responds to Rickert Column

Today’s Wisconsin State Journal editorial page features a letter from Professors Brad Barham and Bill Tracy, the chair and president of PROFS, respectively. Barham and Tracy wrote in response to a column written by Chris Rickert about faculty salaries. Here is the text of the letter:

The UW-Madison faculty is disturbed by columnist Chris Rickert cherry-picking two items from a list of 11 possible solutions to the problem of declining faculty salaries, not one of which has been endorsed by the Faculty Senate, in his March 8 column, “Professors, it shouldn’t be all about the money.”

The UW-Madison Commission on Faculty Compensation and Economic Benefits worked hard for six months to develop a detailed report. The committee also assessed the impact of declining salaries on faculty retention and morale and developing proposals to improve faculty salaries.

Strategic tuition increases and enrolling a greater number of out-of-state students are just two recommendations the committee made. And the report recommends that in-state tuition increase should be limited to the amount needed to offset state budget cuts, and any increase in non-resident students will not result in a reduction in the number of Wisconsin residents enrolled.

The report concludes “whatever way UW-Madison decides to focus future raises in tuition, we are mindful of the need to balance a desire to maintain our competitive position among our peer group of public research universities with our essential commitment to the citizens of Wisconsin to guarantee appropriate access to one of the country’s finest institutions of higher learning.”

Despite a $315 million budget cut to UW System, the faculty remains committed to Wisconsin’s students.

— Brad Barham, chairman; and Bill Tracy, president, Public Representation Organization of the Faculty Senate Steering Committee