Legislative Update

PROFS welcomes faculty back to campus as the new semester begins. For those unfamiliar, PROFS is a non-profit membership organization that represents UW-Madison faculty to the Wisconsin Legislature and Congress.

We are proud of our past achievements. During the most recent budget process, PROFS played a key role in securing $86 million in state-supported bonding for the UW-Madison Chemistry Building Project.

In 2011, PROFS led the successful fight to ensure retirement contributions are taken pre-tax, saving the average faculty member about $1,800 per year. Before that, PROFS successfully lobbied for domestic partner benefits and first-day health coverage for faculty and staff. Recent activities at the state level are listed below.

2015-17 Biennial Budget

PROFS met with more than two dozen legislators and staff throughout the budget process, lobbying for decreased cuts in state funding and the preservation of strong tenure and shared governance for faculty. While the final budget was still much worse than the faculty would have liked, it did include $50 million more for the UW System than the governor had proposed and the attacks on tenure and shared governance, while harsh, were not as punitive as some key legislators wanted them to be.

PROFS took strong stands on these harmful actions. Please see previous posts for statements on budget cuts, tenure, and shared governance. Going forward, PROFS is closely following the work of UW System’s Tenure Policy Task Force and making the case that tenure policy at UW-Madison must meet the standards of the AAUP and peer institutions.

Assembly Bill 305, Limits on Scientific Research

PROFS officially registered and delivered testimony (below) against AB 305, a proposal that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts. If passed, the bill would criminalize the use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue, which includes cell lines that have been in use for more than 30 years.

PROFS will continue to vigorously oppose the proposal, which has far-reaching negative consequences on campus.

The Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety will meet in executive session to vote on the bill on Wednesday, September 9.

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Possible Merger of UW Colleges and the Wisconsin Technical College System

PROFS is deeply concerned about the private discussion among Assembly Republicans on the possible realignment of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and Extension and the Wisconsin Technical College System. PROFS shared its concerns in a letter to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester):

“The faculty at UW-Madison urge you and other legislative leaders to reconsider this strategy and instead create a transparent and inclusive process for any review of public higher education in the state”

“UW-Madison faculty welcome an open and consultative discussion on the future of higher education in Wisconsin. We hope to be “at the table,” along with many other stakeholders across the state, as this discussion continues.”

PROFS is funded entirely by faculty contributions. Please consider joining PROFS if you are not a member.