Monday, May 2, 2016

UW-Madison Faculty Senate follows through, stands up for Bucky

Props to the UW-Madison Faculty Senate for ignoring the threats from anti-education GOP politicians and appointees, and passing a vote of no confidence against UW President Ray Cross and the Walker-stacked Board of Regents. You can read the full thing at this link, as it's quite the long list of explanations and grievances. But let me quote the last 8 paragraphs, which get to the heart of things (if the Faculty Senate is cool enough for me to apply fair use).
WHEREAS the failure of the UW System President and the Board of Regents adequately to protect academic due process and shared governance has damaged the reputation of UW-Madison as a great state university that encourages continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found;

WHEREAS the erosion of tenure and shared governance in conjunction with budget cuts is likely to have a disproportionately negative impact on faculty who are already most marginalized and/or engaged in politically controversial research;
WHEREAS program changes based on non-educational considerations, the erosion of academic due process, and the circumventing of faculty governance in conjunction with budget cuts jeopardize the quality of students’ education;

WHEREAS affordable tuition, adequate budget, strong tenure and shared governance are essential to the quality of a university’s educational, scholarly, and outreach missions;

WHEREAS a primary function of the university, to aid our students in the development of the critical thinking skills they will bring to bear on their personal experiences and the challenges faced by human society, is impaired when the authority for the educational direction of the university may be wielded to suppress instruction in areas that are deemed risky or controversial;

WHEREAS the erosion of active shared governance in conjunction with budget cuts diminishes access, affordability, and educational resources for our students, as well as support for scholarship and its associated economic benefits, as well as outreach and services to the citizens of the State of Wisconsin, and harms the quality of our university;

It is hereby RESOLVED that the actions of President Ray Cross and the Board of Regents give the UW-Madison Faculty Senate no confidence in their commitment to defending the Wisconsin Idea, extending the benefits of the University to every citizen in the state;

It is further RESOLVED that the UW-Madison Faculty Senate calls on System President Ray Cross and the Board of Regents to recommit themselves to the Wisconsin Idea by carrying out their responsibilities and working with us to strengthen the quality of our state universities, in particular by working with the state legislature to make a positive case for improved access, affordability, and educational resources for our students; for additional support for scholarship and its associated economic benefits; for greater resources for outreach and services to citizens of the State; and by truly respecting, advancing, and participating in shared governance at the UW System.

I wholeheartedly approve. This ALEC crew at the Capitol is not pne that can be negotiated with, and they will do what they want to do regardless of how you treat them. The cowardly actions of UW President Cross and UW-Madison Chancellor Becky Blank to fail to stick up for Bucky to these partisan WisGOP hacks means different and public tactics must be taken. This is a war for the soul of what the UW System will be for the future, and Cross and the Board of Regents have done little to stop the damage being done to one of this state's greatest resources (some would go further and argue that they are condoning it and acting at the ALEC crew's behest). I hope faculty at other UW campuses will follow (and some have indicated they will).

As I've said before, what is happening at UW is not in isolation, but is part of a national ALEC agenda to defund and deform publically-funded research universities, with the ultimate goal of selling them off and turning them into right-wing propaganda mills. And as I've also said before, you need to see the "Starving the Beast" documentary that includes not only the UW, but other top-notch public universities throughout the country that have been monkeyed with by ALEC and their Koch-topus friends. I saw this flick at the Wisconsin Film Festival a couple of weeks ago, and it does a great job at connecting the dots between the big money, the politicians they buy, and the destructive higher ed policies that both of them sell.

1 comment:

  1. Have you seen the responses from Cross and Millner? Of course they are totally empty, especially Cross's, but here's something interesting, and ironic considering 'confidence' is the issue--they responded to the wrong resolution. In their haste to get out a response quickly, they released it before the final resolution was even voted on, which included all of the Wisconsin idea, larger protection of system, etc. Basically, non-tenure stuff. What a bunch of incompetents.