New Badger Partnership: TAA is lying through their teethPosted: February 24, 2011
I applaud the TAA for the effort put into the Budget Repair Bill work; it was truly inspiring and I’m glad I could help and be a part of it.
However, their recent email regarding the New Badger Partnership is one pack of lies after another. I literally JUST posted about how we need to stop lying about this proposal and have honest discussions. I’m very disappointed in the TAA right now for their blatant disregard of truth.
As you likely know, earlier this week, a huge bomb dropped that the upcoming budget bill would split the UW system in two, establishing UW-Madison as a “public authority” institution, with unprecedented freedoms to raise tuition, politicize research, and to silence students’ legal rights to shared governance. This model would strip other UW institutions of funding, and it goes against the role of the UW outlined in the Wisconsin Idea.
- Tuition: UW had the same power pre 1971. The Board of Regents can do the same thing now. Hardly unprecedented and misleading.
- Research: As I stated before, its already private research for the most part. There is nothing in here that would politicize it.
- Shared Governance: We can directly put a student on the board, unlike now where the governor selects whoever he damn well pleases. This is a win. Shared Governance language is preserved VERBATIM in the new bill. There is literally NO silencing. This is a complete lie. No mincing words; the TAA is lying here.
- Strip other schools of funding: Madison currently gets 40% of the System’s budget. The state now just gives us that amount directly instead of through system. This again, is a lie.
- Wisconsin Idea: The Wisc Idea started at Madison when it was an independent school and flourished. I’d imagine it would function perfectly fine returning to that form. The Wisc Idea can be used to justify anything because its so flexible, making this point particularly weak.
And would you believe it, then the real misconceptions start.
Tuition increases would no longer be capped by state law. Tuition would have to increase at a dramatic rate due to reduced state funding (see below).
Shared Governance Rights
Because UW would no longer be a state agency, many court decisions relating to shared governance rights would no longer apply to the UW. Such rights include the right of students to appoint representatives to committees, the right of students to organize student government as they see fit, the rule that campus history and traditions dictate rights, and the right of faculty and students to initiate all policy changes.
Funding the UW with a block grant would make it easier to dramatically reduce state funding in every future state budget process. The legislature could easily amend the biennial budget bill to remove UW-Madison funding specifically, and the governor’s line-item veto power could result in removal of any and all Madison funding.
Other state Universities, which remain fully public, would compete for funding against the UW. The
other campuses have greater legislative representation and would likely win this battle.
Board of Regents Policies & the New Board of Trustees
All current Board of Regents’ policies would now be under control of a new board that could be entirely appointed by Governor Walker.
Current regent policies dictate that students must approve differential tuition before it is implemented. The new board would not be bound to this policy.
Current regent policy provides each campus and chancellor with a great deal of autonomy. New board policy might place much of the control of campus policy in the purview of the new board.
The UW currently does research that a Republican appointed board would likely eliminate. For example, our New Board of Trustees could require that UW ban stem cell research.
- Shared Gov: See above. The court decisions would remain valid because the language of the law is the same. A memo will be drafted outlining this, much like memos between the Chancellors during the merger became the rationale for case law in the 90s. This would be no different. Lovers of case law, no fear, Spoto is still here.
- State Funding: Sure and Walker could reveal he is a secretly an immortal vampire tomorrow. This isn’t realistic. The state will not remove all Madison funding. Scare tactics.
- Regent Policy: The language of the bill stipulates that all current Regent policy will be carried over to the new model. That means that differential tuition must still be approved by students, among other things.
- Board composition: Those details have been released. Yeah, 11 are Walker’s appointees but that’s a lesser percent than he currently controls on the Board of Regents. This is an awful argument to make but a lot of people try to do so. Of those 11, 7 have to be alums so they need some experience with the university.
- Research: Sure, they can ban things. That would suck. But so can the legislature. So can the Board of Regents. And 11 of 21 is hardly a solid majority needed to do something like that. I would imagine that it would fail.
I feel like I’m beating a dead horse but people continue to perpetuate these lies. STOP! Tell your friends what’s going on. Ask them if they know the facts about this? I’m not interested in playing a game with this; hell I graduate next year and will not see most of this stuff pan out. I just don’t want my fellow badgers screwed over by liars and those with their own agendas. The one thing that these people have right is that this is the time to act; However, we must act in SUPPORT of our Chancellor, and in SUPPORT of these courageous and innovative ideas set to make Madison truly special and retain its quality for the future.