PROFS Asks JFC Co-Chairs for Budget Changes

PROFS President Judith Burstyn, incoming PROFS President Dorothy Farrar-Edwards, and PROFS Chair Anja Wanner sent a letter (below) to Joint Finance Committee Co-Chairs Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) asking for two important changes to the 2017-19 state budget.

The changes relate to requirements for the University of Wisconsin System President and chancellors and governance of the proposed UW-Madison Thompson Center on Public Leadership.

Campus Speech Bill Passes Assembly

Assembly Bill 299, dubbed the Campus Free Speech Act, passed the Assembly Wednesday, June 21 on a 61-36 vote. Republican Bob Gannon of West Bend joined the Democrats in opposing the bill. A statement of PROFS’ opposition to the bill is here.

Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum), the bill’s main author, maintains the legislation is necessary to ensure all voices are heard on campus, citing incidents at Middlebury College and the University of California-Berkeley as evidence that free speech is stifled on college campuses.

PROFS lobbied against the bill, noting that in 2010 the University of Wisconsin Faculty Senate adopted a policy (Faculty Document 2186) that protects speech on campus. In 2015, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents adopted a resolution affirming academic freedom, including free speech, on all UW campuses.

Under the amended bill (below), the Board of Regents would be required to adopt a policy that would apply to all UW System institutions and supersede any existing Regent or campus policies. The legislation also requires mandatory punishments for students violators and employee and new student training on free speech annually.

The bill now moves to the State Senate.

June Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at UW-Milwaukee Thursday and Friday, June 8 and 9. Livestream coverage of the full board portion of the meeting is here.

The board meets in committee Thursday morning:

The Business and Finance and Audit Committees will meet jointly in closed session to discuss an information security audit.

The Business and Finance Committee will hear a presentation on UW-Milwaukee’s response to fiscal pressures and consider several contractual agreements.

The Education Committee will consider approval of a new UW-Madison PhD program in Biomedical Data Science and hear several presentations, including one on UW-Milwaukee’s efforts to close the achievement gap.

The Audit Committee will hear the FY17 Audit Plan Progress Report

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will consider several new construction projects and hear reports on the State Building Commission, leasing agreements, and capital projects.

The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear three presentations on entrepreneurial efforts.

The full board meets Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Three new members will be welcomed — UW-Eau Claire student Ryan Ring, representing traditional undergraduate students; Green Bay banker Robert Atwell; and Milwaukee attorney Mike Jones.

Thursday afternoon, the board will hear from UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone and Rockwell Automation President and CEO Blake Moret. UW-Extension Provost and Vice Chancellor Aaron Brower will provide an update on the UW Flex Option program.

Friday morning, the board will hear reports from UW System President Ray Cross and Regent President Regina Millner, vote on committee action, present Academic Staff Excellence Awards, and elect new officers.

 

 

PROFS Statement on AB 299, Relating to Campus Speech

PROFS is registered against Assembly Bill 299, legislation that would require the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents to adopt a policy on free expression on all two and four-year campuses. This new policy would supersede any previous Regent rules or individual campus policies.

The Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee is scheduled to vote on an amended version of AB 299 at 1:30 pm, Tuesday, May 30.

In 2010, the UW-Madison Faculty Senate amended its Faculty Policies and Procedures to  provide “principled protection for faculty engaged in speech pursuant to their official duties.” The amendment (below) also provided a definition of academic freedom.

 

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