Chancellor Blank reacts to proposed state budget cuts, public authority proposal

February 3, 2015

Rebecca Blank, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, released the following statement in reaction to the governor’s proposed budget released today:

“We are willing to do our part in solving the state’s fiscal challenges, but a $300 million cut to the base funding of the University of Wisconsin System is too much. It would jeopardize the investment by Wisconsin taxpayers who have created a world-class institution in UW–Madison. It would hurt our students by increasing class sizes, reducing program offerings and potentially lengthening the time to graduation. And it may provide less access for Wisconsin students to the state’s flagship university.

“Flexibilities in purchasing, management of building projects and authority over a pay plan for university employees offered through a public authority model are welcome reforms that would eventually allow the System to function more effectively. But the public authority will take some time to create and implement and will provide no budget relief in the short-term.

“While the UW System has found and will continue to find ways to operate more efficiently, this cut to higher education, the largest in state history, goes too far, particularly given the previous reductions in state support in past state budgets.

Many other states around us are increasing their higher education commitments, which makes these reductions particularly dangerous for our university, as we will have difficulty maintaining our level of excellence.

“We are heartened to hear expressions of support from the public, our alumni, faculty, staff and students. As we delve into the details of the governor’s proposal in the coming days and weeks, we will continue to work with legislators to reduce the cut and ease its toll on our students and the state of Wisconsin.”