The Necessity of the New Badger PartnershipPosted: February 17, 2011
So, I was initially going to wait and blog this after the Senate voted on the Budget Repair Bill, but seeing as how events today are stacking up, that won’t happen soon.
I began pondering this last night after seeing the Chancellor’s leaked memo and thinking about how the principles represented in that document interact with our current situation and came to a realization this afternoon.
Let’s look at three events, and extrapolate from there.
- Budget cuts: Can we assume this as a given? Everything is being slashed; the governor has an agenda to cut; the UW is the single largest piece of the pie. We’re getting cut.
- Budget Repair Bill: I’m going to assume this goes through and here’s why. If all 14 of the Democrats in the Senate left the state, then there are no swing votes. If they had the votes it wouldn’t be an issue and the Dems could defeat it. Maybe a watered down version ends up passing but I think some form does.
- New Badger Partnership: What happens if we get slammed by budget cuts and then our employees and educators are cut in the Budget Repair Bill? How do we recover as an institution to survive a clearly hostile legislature and governor?
I’ve come to the realization that the flexibilities embodied by the phrase New Badger Partnership is 100% necessary to ensure the survival of UW-Madison as we know it.
Regardless of any previous transgressions by administration, I feel that should the proposal in Governor Walker’s budget look like the ideas floated in the memo released yesterday, we would actually be sitting pretty well.
Here’s a few of the many reasons why I see this as essential for our future:
- Governing Body: Students will be specifically included in this body. Students have at least one seat on this body that would control tuition, among dozens of other important policies.
- Specificity: The UW-System Board of Regents makes policy for 26 UW-Schools. From 300 students enrolled to 42,000 enrolled. There are very few policies that can apply to all 26 schools of these sizes and still make sense. Specificity would allow for a board directly for Madison policies and issues unique to a school like ours.
- Shared Governance: Still guaranteed. Clearly laid out and retains the same structure as it does now. Great.
- Necessity: The state is broke. That’s apparent by the bills before us and the actions at the Capitol. We’re not getting anymore funds and to avoid even more massive tuition hikes (26% opposed to 10%. although still high) we need to think creatively.
I feel that this is no longer a preference argument. I feel that this is an argument of necessity. Governor Walker has threatened the caliber of this university and we need to find a way to fix it. I think the New Badger Partnership fills that regrettably necessary void.