The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents met for two days in Milwaukee this week, tackling a proposed tuition increase and naming a new board president. Webcasts of the meetings are available here.
On Thursday, The regents considered a proposal to increase tuition by 5.5 percent tuition — the largest allowed by law. After much discussion and a proposal for a more modest increase the board approved the request on a 17 to 1 vote. Regent John Drew of Milwaukee opposed the increase: “I can’t vote for a tuition increase when there is no increase in financial aid for the neediest students. I don’t accept the new normal we have to deal with in this state, with ever-declining aid, ever-increasing tuition, ever-increasing student debt.” Newly-appointed Regent Gerald Whitburn proposed a 4 percent increase, but the motion failed 15 to 3, with Whitburn, Michael Falbo, and Tim Higgins all voting no.
Today, the board selected its new president. Regent Vice President Brent Smith, an attorney from La Crosse, was named president after 4 votes. Regent Michael Falbo was also nominated to serve as president resulting in three tied votes. Falbo also serves chair of the Legislative Task Force on UW Restructuring and Operational Flexibilities. The board finally voted to name Smith president after Whitburn proposed a ticket of Smith as president and Falbo as vice president. That measure passed on a voice vote.
Former Regents Michael Spector and Judy Crain were recognized for their service to the board. Both had served since 2005 and Spector was president for the past year.