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UW–Madison faculty share concerns about budget proposal, pass resolution condemning cut

February 3, 2015 By Greg Bump

The Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison on Monday passed a resolution expressing “strong opposition” to a proposed $300 million state funding cut for the UW System.

Governor Scott Walker said last week that he expects his budget proposal to include a $300 million reduction in state support to the UW System. Walker will give his budget address on Tuesday night, and the full budget bill is expected to be released publicly later in the week.

The resolution, passed unanimously, warns that severe cuts such as those proposed by the governor “would diminish the quality, breadth, and access to education for Wisconsin residents.”

Chancellor Rebecca Blank said the cuts are “too large for the state, too large for the university, and too large for the system to absorb.”

“The depth of this cut would be incredibly damaging,” she said.

Some members of the Faculty Senate expressed frustration at Walker’s comments last week that one solution to the funding reduction for the System may be to ask faculty and staff to increase their workload.

“It shows a total lack of understanding of how a university functions,” said Professor Mark Etzel.

Blank said she agreed very much with the concerns about arbitrarily increasing workload, pointing out that UW–Madison faculty and staff bring millions into the state economy through research.

“That is not a strategy we are interested in pursuing,” Blank said.

Following the introduction of Walker’s budget, the legislation will be analyzed by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau before going to the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee for amendment and approval. Following the committee action, both legislative houses must approve the bill before it can be signed into law by Walker. The state fiscal year ends June 30.