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Statement of Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin in response to Joint Finance Committee decisions on UW System budget

June 22, 2023

Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin shared the following statement on the UW System budget on June 22, 2023.

“We appreciate the Joint Finance Committee’s decision to invest in state employees, including UW–Madison faculty and staff, by setting aside funding for a compensation plan of 4 percent in the first year and 2 percent in the second year of the upcoming biennium. This plan helps to recognize the toll that inflation has taken on the pocketbooks of UW–Madison employees who work hard to ensure our students receive one of the best educational experiences in the nation, conduct life-changing research, and provide important outreach services to people and businesses around the state of Wisconsin.

“The committee also shared plans to reduce the UW System budget by $32 million and, while it put that funding into the committee’s supplemental appropriation, this means that UW System’s funding remains flat at best. While we understand that UW System can seek release of the funding for use in high-demand programs such as engineering, nursing, business, computer science and education, it’s disappointing that in a time of historic budget surpluses the committee did not take the opportunity to invest in the state’s most important economic driver. It’s also puzzling and disappointing that the committee has not yet provided funding for a new Engineering building, given the committee’s stated focus on addressing Wisconsin’s workforce development needs.

“The redirection of funds has been directly tied to investments in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on campuses across UW System, including at UW–Madison. These programs play a critical role on campus and help students from a wide variety of backgrounds succeed in college, including veterans, students with disabilities, first-generation students, and underrepresented minority students. They also support the wellbeing of faculty and staff. Further, employers consistently tell us they want and expect students to have experience working with people from diverse backgrounds, and research also shows that diverse teams tend to make better decisions.

“To be sure, it is appropriate for there to be both dialogue and engagement to examine how we might further improve our programs’ success at creating belonging for all. But the professionals working to help our students, staff, and faculty from all backgrounds and experiences reach their full potential deserve both respect and appreciation for their crucial efforts. We fully support them and their work.”