University of Wisconsin-Madison Population Health Sciences professor and PROFS Steering Committee member Dave Vanness recently spoke with WISN’s Mike Gousha about Assembly Bill 299 (Campus Free Speech Act). PROFS is registered against the bill.
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.
The following Legislative Fiscal Bureau papers were released Wednesday, January 25.
UW-Madison recently released the 2016-17 Budget in Brief, a publication designed to help people, including legislators and other government officials, better understand the university’s budget.
As we get closer to the 2017-19 state budget process, PROFS encourages faculty and others to take a look and become more familiar with UW-Madison budget details.
UW-Madison hosted a campus forum on the state budget and its impact on the university on September 14. The discussion covered the university’s budget landscape and how it has changed over time, the impact of budget cuts, the UW System 2017-19 budget request, and how alumni and friends of the university are being engaged.
Chancellor Rebecca Blank, UW System Board of Regents President Regina Millner, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller, and Vice Chancellor for University Relations Charles Hoslet were panelists.
These slides were used during the forum:
The 2015-17 biennial budget process was difficult – UW System received a $250 million budget cut along with a two-year extension of a tuition freeze. PROFS played a key role in one budget bright spot: funding for the much-needed Chemistry Building project. In prior budget cycles, PROFS led the fight to ensure retirement contributions are taken pre-tax, saving the average faculty member about $1,800 per year and successfully lobbied for domestic partner benefits and first-day health coverage for faculty and staff. Looking ahead:
2017-19 Biennial Budget
While Governor Walker instructed all agency heads to prepare budgets with zero increases, the Board of Regents approved a $42.5 million increase in state funding over the next biennium. The increase will largely go toward initiatives to develop the state’s workforce and improve its economy, a plan called 2020FWD. The governor has also said he might consider performance-based funding increases for UW. Criteria for such an increase might include graduation and post-graduation employment rates.
- $26.1 million for the educational pipeline, with a focus on addressing the state’s workforce needs and increasing the student pipeline.
- $6 million to improve the university experience, with a focus on creating graduates who are creative, innovative and entrepreneurial.
- $6.4 million for business and community mobilization, with a focus on bringing together the university, businesses and the greater community.
- $4 million for operational excellence, with a focus on improvements in targeted performance areas. The budget process is lengthy, beginning with formal introduction early next year and final passage most likely in late June. PROFS will be involved throughout the entire process and communicate regularly with faculty.
Earlier this summer, Governor Walker said he supported an additional one or two-year freeze on University of Wisconsin System tuition, lengthening the current freeze to six years.
Regent Action on Tenure, Shared Governance and Post-Tenure Review
Last year, PROFS regularly communicated with the chair and members of the Regent Tenure Policy Task Force as they developed new tenure policies. We will continue to aggressively advocate on behalf of UW-Madison faculty as the Regents work to approve a post-tenure review policy this fall.
All Wisconsin Assembly seats and 16 seats on the Senate are on the ballot in November. Republicans hold comfortable margins in both houses, but some pundits believe the Senate could flip parties if a Democratic presidential landslide occurs. A split legislature would have an impact on the upcoming state budget process and could slow Republican legislative efforts such as a proposed ban on fetal tissue research and campus carry.
University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross recently discussed no confidence votes by faculty at several UW campuses on UpFront with Mike Gousha.
Tenure and Shared Governance
The Board of Regents met last month and approved three policies related to tenure, post-tenure review, and faculty layoffs. The meeting was contentious at times as the board rejected three faculty-supported amendments offered by Regent Tony Evers.
The language approved by the board was broad and intends to serve as an umbrella policy for individual campuses. The Regent Education Committee will consider UW-Madison’s faculty layoff policy (below), approved by the Faculty Senate in November, at its meeting in Green Bay later this week.
Republican legislative leaders have said the legislature has concluded its regular 2015-16 session. The legislature is unlikely to meet again this spring, but could reconvene in special or extraordinary sessions later this year. PROFS monitored and lobbied on the following bills this session:
PROFS registered against AB 305 and SB 260, proposals that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts.
PROFS registered against AB SB 363, legislation that would have require UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System campuses to allow concealed carry of weapons in campus buildings. Current law permits concealed carry on campus grounds, but allows individual campuses to forbid weapons in buildings.
PROFS registered in favor of this bill, which would ban guns on college campuses.
Assembly Bill 814, Shared Governance—In Committee
PROFS registered in favor of this bill, which would have returned university, shared governance to state statutes.
Assembly Bill 898, Tenure—In Committee
PROFS registered in favor of this bill, which would have restored strong tenure language to state statutes.
College Affordability Package—Four bills signed into law
Governor Walker signed four of six bills into law last month. A PROFS statement on the bills is here.
Senate Bill 276, Parking Revenue
Governor Walker signed this bill into law. It allows the university to spend parking revenue on campus safety and transportation programs. PROFS registered in favor of this proposal.
Senate Bill 571, Sale of Agricultural Lands
Governor Walker signed this bill into law. It expands UW System Board of Regent authority over agricultural lands. PROFS registered in favor of this proposal.
UW System Tenure Policy Task Force
PROFS continues to actively follow the work of the UW System Tenure Policy Task Force. The Board of Regents meets Thursday, March 10 and will discuss recommendations of the Regent Education Committee. Board action on UW-Madison’s draft policy is not expected until April.
Republican leadership has said the Assembly has adjourned for the session, but the Senate plans to meet again March 15. Both houses could reconvene in special or extraordinary sessions. PROFS is monitoring and lobbying on several items:
- Assembly Bill 305/Senate Bill 260, Limits on Scientific Research PROFS is registered against AB 305 and SB 260, proposals that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts. If passed, the bills would criminalize the research and use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue. Action on the bills seems unlikely.
- Assembly Bill 480/Senate Bill 363, Campus Concealed Carry PROFS is registered against AB SB 363, legislation that would require UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System campuses to allow concealed carry of weapons in campus buildings. Current law permits concealed carry on campus grounds, but allows individual campuses to forbid weapons in buildings. PROFS is vigorously opposed to this legislation.
- Assembly Bill 814, Shared Governance PROFS is registered in favor of this bill, recently introduced by Representative Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton), which would return university shared governance to state statutes.
- Assembly Bill 898, Tenure PROFS is registered in favor of this bill, recently introduced by Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine). The proposal restores strong tenure language to state statutes.
- College Affordability Package The Governor announced a package of six bills that address college affordability last month. All six bills passed the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities and five of the six passed the Senate last week. The PROFS statement on the bills is here.
- Senate Bill 276, Parking Revenue Governor Walker signed this bill into law. It allows the university to spend parking revenue on campus safety and transportation programs. PROFS registered in favor of this proposal.
- Senate Bill 571, Sale of Agricultural Lands Governor Walker signed this bill into law. It expands UW System Board of Regent authority over agricultural lands. PROFS registered in favor of this proposal.
PROFS Forum on Self-insurance for State Employees
The Group Insurance Board met last month and voted to issue a request for proposals on self-insurance for state employees. PROFS hosted a forum featuring three insurance experts the following week. Video here.
The Wisconsin Assembly is scheduled to vote today on a package of bills designed to improve college affordability. The bills were announced by Governor Scott Walker and quickly approved by the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee last month. The bills have widespread Republican support, but Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said lower-than-expected tax revenues may pare back funding for the proposals.
While PROFS is pleased the governor and legislative leaders are discussing college affordability we strongly believe renewing the state’s commitment to public higher education is the most effective way to keep college costs down.