Edited May 30, 9:15 pm: Legislative Fiscal Bureau budget paper
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) told WisconsinEye senior producer Steve Walters he believed Governor Scott Walker’s proposed $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System budget was too large and he would support a smaller cut if state revenues allow.
Vos, appearing with Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) on Civil Dialogue, also said he does not support full public authority status for the system. The full video is embedded below. Remarks about the UW System begin at the 13 minute mark and continue for about 7 minutes.
Vos said Board of Regent action last week suggests the Regents are unlikely to implement major changes to tenure and “all these different things,” making full public authority unnecessary. He questioned the need for public authority if the board is going to protect the status quo and fears a large tuition increase would be the outcome of public authority.
Instead, Vos said he supports specific management flexibilities in procurement and building projects. Vos later told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the legislature has the ability to end tenure and shared governance.
Barca told Walters the budget proposal would devastate the UW System and would result in increased time to degree for students and the loss of faculty members to other universities. Barca also noted the average UW-Madison faculty member brings in an average of $250,000 in outside funding which would also be lost.
With regard to flexibility, Barca said he supports flexibility, but increased autonomy would make up only a small percentage of the budget cuts.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents adopted two resolutions relating to the 2015-17 biennial budget proposal last week.
One resolution called for a reduction in the proposed base budget cut and supported management flexibilities either through public authority status or new legislation:
The second resolution reaffirmed support for shared governance and tenure and asked for authorization to establish policies of shared governance and tenure should they be removed from state statute:
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) recently spoke with the Racine Journal Times editorial board, where he shared his views on a range of issues including right to work, school accountability and employment for prisoners.
Vos also discussed his views on UW System and its faculty, saying he was concerned about the amount of time faculty spend outside the classroom:
“If they’re bringing in research, I totally understand that; they’re helping to grow the economy or even grow the public good. But if they are just being allowed course releases to have a sabbatical or to do something that’s not productive, we don’t have the money to do that.”
“Do I believe in tenure? I don’t. It’s an anachronism; it was something that was back from the ‘50s and ‘60s. I don’t think anyone should be given a job for life, which is what tenure is.”
PROFS President Grant Petty notes that tenure is not a job for life, and in fact tenure was developed in the early 20th century to offer faculty due process and protect their academic freedom:
“Tenure is the foundation of great research and teaching institutions. It does not offer one a job for life, but instead allows faculty to pursue scholarly endeavors without fear of ideological or political attack.”