UW System Clipsheet

February 23, 2011

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Board of Regents

"UW Regents to hold special meeting on possible UW-Madison split," Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 23.

The UW Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Friday morning to discuss the possible separation of UW-Madison from the rest of the University of Wisconsin System. Calling for a "public conversation," UW System leaders told UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin in a letter Tuesday that the effects of splitting off the flagship university would ripple across the state...

"Special meeting set on plan to split UW," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 22.

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents has called a special meeting Friday to discuss a plan to split the flagship campus from the rest of the UW System...

"Campus Connection: Regents, Martin to discuss possible split of UW-Madison," Capital Times, Feb. 22.

The UW System's Board of Regents is calling a special meeting on Friday to discuss the "potential separation of UW-Madison from the rest of the UW institutions." UW System spokesman David Giroux says by rule, a special meeting of the regents has to focus on a single topic. There will be no action taken, not even a vote on a resolution of support or opposition...

UW System

"UW schools need more control over tuition, programs," Editorial, Leader-Telegram, Feb. 22.

By all accounts, the proverbial "other shoe" is going to drop next week when Gov. Scott Walker proposes his 2011-13 state budget outlining his plan to eliminate a projected $3.6 billion deficit. The UW System is expected to take another hit, but there are two things Walker and the Legislature can and should do to help soften the blow to this key component of our economic future. First, campuses should have more control over their budgets and defining where they want to go and how to best get there. Walker reportedly seemed warm to this idea in a meeting with chancellors last week. Second, and this one is going to hurt, is more flexibility in setting tuition and fees to make up for state aid cuts...

"Tense exchange of letters on Madison autonomy plan," Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 23.

The president of the University of Wisconsin System, along with the president and vice president of the Board of Regents, on Tuesday sent Biddy Martin, chancellor of the Madison campus, a public rebuke for promoting a plan that they say would separate Madison from the rest of the system. The regents also called an emergency meeting for Friday to discuss the issue...

"Budget bill: possible impact on UW faculty, staff," Badger Herald, Feb. 22.

...At UW, the groups affected include teaching assistants and some faculty. Though some UW System employees have been part of unions since 1971, academic staff and faculty on campus have not formally unionized. While benefits have been generous in the public sector in Wisconsin, salaries have been relatively low, UW economics professorAndrew Reschovsky said. Some say those lower-salaried employees at UW could be hit the hardest...

"Economist Knetter warns partisan politics will stall recovery; favors UW-Madison split," WisBusiness, Feb. 22.

...But Knetter also said that increasing tuition at UW-Madison for students who can afford it would help make up for the reduced taxpayer revenue, ultimately putting a larger share of the university's costs on the people who benefit directly from studying there. UW-Madison graduates have consistently done very well in the workforce, he noted. In Wisconsin, he said one of the best outcomes of an expected split between UW-Madison and other UW System campuses would be bipartisan governance -- a concept that is uniting "strange bedfellows" Scott Walker and UW Chancellor Biddy Martin...Knetter said it makes sense for UW-Madison to be able to have more autonomy to raise revenue -- by increasing tuition, streamlining expenses and seeking philanthropic donations -- apart from the UW System's smaller campuses. He said the university in an awkward position because the new governor is from one political party, whereas the university's board of regents has appointees from the former party in power. The UW plan is expected to be part of Gov. Scott Walker's yet-to-be-introduced budget bill...Knetter, who is currently president and CEO of the UW Foundation, said the unlikely alliance of Walker and Martin in support of the split "just shows that perhaps this is not a partisan issue."

On Campus

"Wisconsin budget protests attract thousands to state Capitol," Daily Local News, Feb. 23.

Protests continue to rock the state's capital, a week and a half after Republican leaders introduced a bill that would cut collective bargaining rights of state employees...University of Wisconsin students and faculty remain a driving force in the protest against Republican Gov. Scott Walker's Budget Repair Bill. The students have protested alongside teachers, health care workers and other state employees who would lose their rights to collective bargaining...

"Front-line footage: Wisconsin filmmaker on his viral protest videos," Time, Feb. 22.

As the battle continues in Madison, a local filmmaker has released a sequel to his first video to give an up close and personal look at the demonstrators. Filmmaker Matt Wisniewski, by day a media specialist at the University of Wisconsin, was just one of the crowd when the protests started...As it turns out, hundreds of thousands have viewed his videos...

"Another UW teach out at 11: "Bring the ruckus!"," Blog, Slate, Feb. 22.

Public teachers are back to work today, but there's a new effort underway to get University of Wisconsin students and professors to walk out of classes and protest at the Capitol. The e-mail from the Teaching Assistant Association, passed on to me by one of the participants...

"UW-Madison faculty march in protest to Capitol citing concerns about recruitment," Isthmus, Feb. 22.

Hundreds of UW-Madison professors, lecturers and teaching assistants had a new chant to shout as they made their way down Bascom Hill to State Street Tuesday afternoon: "UW united will never be defeated!"...

"UW Hospital surprised to find its workers in budget-repair bill," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 22.

University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics - which doesn't receive state money directly - would be barred from collectively bargaining with its roughly 5,000 union employees under Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget-repair bill. The provision surprised health system executives...

"UW again a 'best value' school on Princeton Review list," Capital Times, Feb. 23.

The Princeton Review again has rated UW-Madison one of the best values in higher learning in America. The UW is on the annual Princeton Review-USA Today list, which includes 50 public schools and 50 private schools...

"Student protests fizzle at UWSP today," Stevens Point Journal, Feb. 23.

Daily life may be getting in the way of student-led protests at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Only a few students meandered through a proposed meeting place for today’s planned walkout to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill. Student leaders had called for students to leave class at 10 a.m. and meet in the sundial...

"U.S. Rep. Kind presents MEP with $168,000 in federal grants," WQOW-TV, Feb. 22.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, had more than kind words Tuesday for the Northwest Wisconsin Manufacturing Outreach Center based at University of Wisconsin-Stout. Kind also presented a $168,000 check for the renewal of two grants from the U.S. Commerce Department. The grants will go to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program at UW-Stout, one of two MEPs in Wisconsin...

"Judge sets trial for 1 of 2 accused in Stout student death," Dunn County News, Feb. 23.

A four-day trial for one of the two former UW-Stout hockey players charged in the death of a fellow student has been set in Dunn County Circuit Court. And because of pretrial publicity, the attorney for the second man accused has asked for a change of venue...

State

"Spreading anti-union agenda," Editorial, New York Times, Feb. 22.

Like a wind-whipped brush fire, the mass union protests that began in Madison, Wis., last week have spread to the capitals of Ohio and Indiana where Republican lawmakers also are trying to cripple the bargaining power of unions — and ultimately realize a cherished partisan dream of eradicating them. In each case, Republican talk of balancing budgets is cover for the real purpose of gutting the political force of middle-class state workers, who are steady supporters of Democrats and pose a threat to a growing conservative agenda...

"A secret deal between Gov. Walker and Koch brothers buried in state budget?," Column, Forbes, Feb. 22.

...But now, there is a conspiracy theory coming out of the fiasco in Wisconsin that may tell us everything we ever needed to know about Governor Scott Walker – and the cool part is that it comes with a verifiable ending...What this says is that the State of Wisconsin can sell or contract out management of state-owned heating, cooling and power plants without the requirement that bids for such a sale or leasing be solicited so as to maximize what the government can pocket through such an arrangement...

"Gov. Scott Walker refuses to make peace in a disdainful, divisive 'fireside chat'," Isthmus, Feb. 22.

...But, with civil war erupting around him, the governor declined to play the role of peacemaker. With the impassive expression of a corporate ax man, he refused to budge from his proposal and offer a compromise. Who promises a “fireside chat” and then tells hundreds of thousands of people that it’s his way or the highway?...

"Walker warns of 'dire consequences'," WISC-TV, Feb. 23.

Gov. Scott Walker said failing to pass a bill stripping union rights for Wisconsin public workers would have "dire consequences." Walker said in a speech broadcast live statewide Tuesday that if lawmakers don't pass the bill up to 1,500 state workers could be laid off by July with another 6,000 forced out of work over the next two years...

"Koch brothers quietly open lobbying office in downtown Madison," Capital Times, Feb. 23.

The billionaire brothers whose political action committee gave Gov. Scott Walker $43,000 and helped fund a multi-million dollar attack ad campaign against his opponent during the 2010 gubernatorial election have quietly opened a lobbying office in Madison just off the Capitol Square...The expanded lobbying effort by the Koch brothers in Wisconsin raises red flags in particular because of a little discussed provision in Walker's repair bill that would allow Koch Industries and other private companies to purchase state-owned power plants in no-bid contracts...

"Vital Signs: Media hones in on Koch brothers and Walker's proposal to sell state energy plants," Capital Times, Feb. 23.

...The labor issues were obvious and got all the attention for a while. But then people started uncovering the fact that the bill would hand the Walker administration sweeping powers to revamp Medicaid with little public and legislative input. Now a third piece of the 144-page bill is making headlines — a power grab some critics believe could be political payback to the conservative Koch brothers...

"Labor group prepares for general strike," WISC-TV, Feb. 22.

If Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators pass a union bill that restricts collective bargaining rights, some labor groups said a statewide worker strike is a very real possibility. The South Central Federation of Labor endorsed the idea of a strike at its meeting on Monday night...

"A call for a Wisconsin Wave of resistance," Column, Capital Times, Feb. 23.

...Today, Wisconsin’s democratic tradition faces the greatest threat it has ever known. Gov. Scott Walker, operating at the direction of Wisconsin Manufacturers&Commerce, is using the financial crisis caused by Wall Street speculators as an excuse to impose devastating cuts to public services...

"Walker in middle of perfect storm," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 22.

Less than two months into his first term, Gov. Scott Walker finds himself at the center of a political storm. Calm and unflappable in the wake of daily demonstrations at the state Capitol, Walker has emerged as a new face on the national scene and a new political hope for the national Republican Party...

"Walker praises civil debate, stresses budget realities," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 22.

In a televised speech Tuesday, Gov. Scott Walker called for civility and declined to back down from his tough stance with public employee unions. He argued his budget-repair bill is ultimately about the state's finances and economy - not worker rights. He also warned Democrats boycotting the Senate that they need to return to Wisconsin to prevent thousands of layoffs of state workers...The committee changed the bill to make a wider group of IDs acceptable for voting. The original version allowed state driver's licenses, state IDs and military IDs; the new version allows those documents, as well as passports, naturalization papers and Native American tribal IDs. But the bill still does not allow for university IDs, prompting protests from opponents...

"Caller posing as major GOP contributor dupes Walker," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 23.

Gov. Scott Walker, believing he was talking to prominent financial backer David Koch, told a Buffalo, N.Y. blogger that his tough stance against public-sector unions was similar to former President Ronald Reagan successfully taking on the air-traffic controllers union three decades ago. "That was the first crack in the Berlin Wall and led to the fall of the Soviets," Walker said, according to a tape of the conversation that was released early Wednesday. "This is our moment, this is our time to change the course of history," Walker said, according to the recording...

"Voter ID bill still too restrictive," Editorial, Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 23.

...The Senate committee on Tuesday added passports, tribal IDs and naturalization papers to the list of acceptable documents. That’s an improvement. But the amended bill would still forbid voters from using student IDs, which isn’t fair to younger voters...

"Stand taken against voter ID bill," Leader-Telegram, Feb. 22.

Increased elections costs to Eau Claire and hardships for college students and senior citizens prompted most City Council members to oppose a state voter identification bill, while others argued the city should stay out of the partisan issue...

"200 mayors, school board officials from 20 cities organize against governor's bill," Associated Press, Feb. 23.

Local government officials from across Wisconsin are publicly registering their opposition to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to cut most collective bargaining for nearly all state employees. More than 200 mayors, school board presidents and other local officials held a news conference at the Capitol Wednesday to voice their objections to Walker’s budget repair bill...

"Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he campaigned on his budget repair plan, including curtailing collective bargaining," PolitiFact, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb. 22.

...Let’s sum up our research. Walker contends he clearly "campaigned on" his union bargaining plan. But Walker, who offered many specific proposals during the campaign, did not go public with even the bare-bones of his multi-faceted plans to sharply curb collective bargaining rights. He could not point to any statements where he did. We could find none either. While Walker often talked about employees paying more for pensions and health care, in his budget-repair bill he connected it to collective bargaining changes that were far different from his campaign rhetoric in terms of how far his plan goes and the way it would be accomplished. We rate his statement False.

National

"Why they are rallying," Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 23.

...Most of the notice has gone to Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, is attempting -- as part of broad changes in the laws of collective bargaining for state employees -- to reverse recent legislation that granted faculty members at University of Wisconsin campuses the right to unionize. Some college faculties have voted to do so, as part of a major organizing drive by the American Federation of Teachers. But those votes are so recent that none of the locals in Wisconsin have negotiated a contract to date...

"The inevitable happens in Ohio," Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 23.

The chancellor of Ohio's recently established university system, Eric Fingerhut, announced his resignation Tuesda, a year before his five-year term was to expire and four months after his political ally, former Governor Ted Strickland, lost his re-election bid...Experts on higher education governance, however, cited the situation as a cautionary tale about the dangers of creating a structure for public postsecondary education that links state higher education leaders too closely to the governor, as proposals now under consideration in Washington and, to a lesser degree, Oregon would do...

"Standing up for the U at the Legislature," Pioneer Press, Feb. 22.

Cuts of 15 percent or 20 percent in state funding to the University of Minnesota would seriously compromise its ability to fulfill its mission and would put entire schools and campuses at risk, U President Bob Bruininks told lawmakers Tuesday. "We would be forced to re-examine the impact and financial viability of entire operations, statewide services, entire schools, colleges and campuses," Bruininks told the House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee. In his budget proposal last week, Gov. Mark Dayton recommended cutting the U's funding by 6 percent, which Bruininks said would be manageable. He would be able to hold tuition increases to about the level of inflation with a reduction of that size, he said. But lawmakers have asked U officials to come up with scenarios for deeper cuts: 15 percent, which would be about $100 million; and 20 percent, which would be about $130 million...

"90% of biomedical scientists in poll say animals are 'essential' in research," Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 23.

An online poll of about 1,000 American and foreign biomedical scientists conducted last month by Nature magazine found that 90 percent believe the use of animals is "essential" in research, and about 70 percent actually do experiments on animals. But a third of those who work on animals said they had "ethical concerns" about the role of animals in research, and 16 percent reported "misgivings" about some of their work...

"In case before Supreme Court, a battle over universities' rights to faculty inventions," Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 22.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Monday in a case that could give faculty members more rights to own inventions that arise from their work on federally financed research projects, potentially upending a practice that for 30 years has given universities ownership and the central role in commercializing billions of dollars worth of academic research...

"American universities have major stake in immigration reform, speaker says," Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 22.

If the United States doesn't reform its immigration system, it risks a vast "brain hemorrhage," as American-educated Indian and Chinese engineers and entrepreneurs return to their own countries, the scholar and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa said in a provocative speech on Tuesday at the annual meeting here of the Association of International Education Administrators. And American universities have much at stake in reform, he said...