New Path For Wisconsin?Posted: January 29, 2011
Most of you know, Brandon and I are at the United Council convention and we have had several substantive conversations regarding the New Badger Partnership and more broadly, flexibilities for the UW system.
I have another NBP post coming up on Monday that will cover a couple points brought up by a comment in my previous post, and other criticisms of the proposal overall. This one is more about the conversations of the past day or so.
- The Whole UW System is Seeking Flexibilities : The NBP differs in wanting tuition autonomy as well. System would love freedom from procurement contracting and allowing single-prime construction contracts but that’s not a reality right now. This isn’t a totally contentious issue across the state.
- Some Schools May Close: With stiff competition from technical colleges that can offer a cheaper tuition bill and comparable transfer credits (not to mention a governor who came from tech schools) it’s a distinct possibility that a UW College campus will close. UW-Medford closed in 1981, and with 26 schools ranging from 350 students to 42,000, there may be room to cut in the eyes of the legislature.
- Shared Governance NEEDS to be assured: 36.09(5) is paramount in all these discussions. We need real Shared Governance (see my post here) and not convenience Shared Governance.
That’s where the similarities in arguments ended. There was lots of talk regarding system unity, student access, and rising tuition with a obvious fault line between students who felt massive organizing would work and students who felt that it wouldn’t change much in terms of funding.
Examples included the United Kingdom protests that resulted in massive actions (but still a hike in fees), the University of California student take over (which resulted in a large hike in fees), and the late 1990’s United Council actions that resulted in a tuition freeze (followed by a 20% jump in tuition the next year). The results of these are debatable in success, certainly.
Overall, I don’t think there is a united system opinion (not that Madison itself is even remotely united in opinion) which means things will likely continue in fits and bursts as various groups gain momentum.
More to come regarding Shared Governance!