Academic Staff Assembly joins call for further study of proposed public authority

March 10, 2015 By Käri Knutson

The Academic Staff Assembly voted Monday on resolutions calling for more study on a proposed public authority for the University of Wisconsin System and greater flexibility in the timing and amount of state budget cuts.

Much of Monday’s discussion centered on the public authority proposed in Gov. Scott Walker’s 2015-17 budget. Representatives called for more information on how it would work and the effects it could have on UW–Madison.

“At this point, we don’t have anywhere near the amount of information we need,” said Jim Rogers, student services program manager for the Wisconsin Union.

Jeanne Hendricks, a senior administrative program specialist for the College of Engineering, agreed.

“I think more information is needed to support or not support public authority,” she said.

The approved resolution supports “the creation of a blue ribbon citizen commission, similar to the 1968 Commission on Education (commonly called the Kellett Commission) to study the current UW System, the proposed UW System Public Authority and other options and submit a report to the governor, legislature and UW System Board of Regents.”

The budget bill is being taken up by the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee and must be approved by both legislative houses before it goes back to Walker for his signature, likely in June.

The budget would also remove language on shared governance from state statute and place it in Board of Regents policy.

The assembly quickly voted on a resolution to continue supporting shared governance.

“Shared governance has worked for 40 years,” said Michael Moscicke, an Academic Staff Executive Committee member and associate student services coordinator. “It needs to stay in the state statute.”

The assembly also voted in support of the existing policy for academic staff job security.

“We think it provides important tools in recruiting and retention,” said Bruno Browning, an ASEC member.