In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the statutory, regulatory, and policy landscape is rapidly changing to best ensure the health safety of students, employees, and visitors to UW institutions. The UW System is subject to federal and state law, the Wisconsin administrative code, regent policy documents, and UW System administrative policies. In response to the pandemic, new temporary policies may be developed or existing policies may be temporarily modified or suspended. Visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Interim Policy Resources page for a list of resources and interim statutory, regulatory and policy actions that have been enacted to manage the pandemic.

Due to the COVID-19 public health concerns, the UW System Board of Regents meeting originally scheduled to be held at Gordon Dining & Event Center, was changed to a half-day teleconference meeting on Thursday, April 2, 2020.

President Ray Cross provided an update on the state and federal response to the pandemic, sharing that the UW System has submitted a preliminary request for state assistance. The request includes allocations to provide funds for student support related to behavioral health, student practicum completion, IT support for the move to alternative delivery methods for instruction, and institutional aid to help stabilize campuses. He also noted that the COVID-19 bill, passed by Congress and signed by the President last week, includes a $30.75-billion Education Stabilization Fund to provide emergency support to local school systems and higher education institutions. According to data provided by national higher education organizations, Wisconsin can expect about $47 million in emergency grants for students and $47 million in institutional support from the federal government.

A full summary of the April 2 meeting, including a list of approved action items, can be found on the UW System News Release.

The next meeting of the UW System Board of Regents is scheduled for June 4-5, 2020, at UW-Milwaukee.


The regular session of the Legislature officially ended on Thursday, March 26, 2020. All legislation which did not pass both houses fails pursuant to SJR-1. However, bills that did not pass through both houses can be revived in an extraordinary session to be acted upon. The Senate was scheduled to come in one more time under their regular session, but they did not end up convening due to the pandemic. We will continue to monitor and provide updates if the Legislature chooses to convene in extraordinary session.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the statutory, regulatory, and policy landscape is rapidly changing. To ensure the health and safety of students, employees, and visitors to UW institutions, UW System has created a COVID-19 Interim Policy Resources website for staff to use as resource on already granted regulatory flexibilities and other regulatory relief and flexibility from state or federal law, Board of Regents policies, and other deadlines and operational issues.

As your institutions identify needs for regulatory flexibility, such as extensions to deadlines or waivers of requirements, whether from federal or state law, Board of Regent policy or System policy, please submit requests to President Ray Cross at, and copy David Volz. These requests should be submitted by Chancellors or their designee and should identify the type of relief requested with a detailed justification and point of contact at the institution. All requests will be monitored by a team at UW System and will be routed accordingly for evaluation. Determinations will be posted to the web site, along with flexibilities or waivers that have already been granted by state or federal agencies.

In addition to making more updates to the COVID-19 web site, a new tool has also been created for UW System and UWSA employees to ask questions about coronavirus-specific topics. You can access the link on the COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage.  This will require you to log in with your campus credentials.

Finally, given that information around this issue is changing on a daily basis, the State Relations newsletter will be updated with important information as it comes in rather than doing the weekly e-mail on Mondays. Please continue to reach out to Jeff Buhrandt, Deej Lundgren, or David Specht-Boardman with any questions or concerns.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announced today, March 17, 2020, that the Senate’s March floor session will be postponed.  Fitzgerald said he and Assembly Speaker Vos will call the Legislature into an extraordinary session this spring so the Senate can complete legislative business.

The State Relations team will continue to monitor this and other legislation impacting UW System and will share any updates through the newsletter.

Please contact Jeff Buhrandt, Deej Lundgren, or David Specht-Boardman with any questions.

The 17th annual Research in the Rotunda event was held on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in the Wisconsin State Capitol Rotunda. Undergraduate student researchers from across the University of Wisconsin System, together with their faculty advisers, presented their research findings on a variety of important topics to legislators, state leaders, UW alumni, and other supporters. See the event program for a list of the 2020 research topics.

We will share footage and images from the event as they become available. Previous year highlights can be found on the Research in the Rotunda website.

As the expanding COVID-19 issue continues to present challenges for us all, we want to assure you that the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and communities is the UW System’s top priority.

Given the rapidly changing landscape of the coronavirus situation, it is important that we have a clear understanding of our policies and anticipated actions. The UW System’s Emergency Operation Center (EOC), which includes a team of health, risk, international security, emergency management, legal counsel and communication experts, has launched a website to provide information on the latest coronavirus developments, particularly as they relate to the UW System. The site will provide regular updates and/or new information, as needed. You can find the website at We encourage you to share this website as a resource.

On Monday, March 2, 2020, Governor Tony Evers signed a series of bills into law. Among the bills was AB 531: ID Card Info, now Wisconsin Act 116.

Act 116 will require all newly issued student identification cards to include contact information for local and national suicide prevention hotlines.

On Tuesday, March 3, 2020 the Governor also signed several other bills into law which affect the UW System, which include:

The Board of Regents held a public hearing on Thursday, March 5, on proposed amendments to Chapter UWS 17, Wis. Admin. Code and Chapter UWS 18, Wis. Admin. Code

 Written comments for each rule will be accepted until March 12, 2020. Comments may be submitted:

  1. on the web (Chapter 17; Chapter 18)
  2. by email to;
  3. at the public hearing; or
  4. by mail to Office of the Board of Regents, 1860 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706.

The 17th annual Research in the Rotunda event will be held Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Outstanding undergraduate student researchers from across the University of Wisconsin System, together with their faculty advisers, will fill the Capitol Rotunda to share their research findings on a variety of important topics with legislators, state leaders, UW alumni, and other supporters. See the event program for a list of the 2020 research topics.

More information about the event, including previous year highlights, can be found on the Research in the Rotunda website.