Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Wiley sets budget priorities

Chancellor John Wiley detailed his budget priorities Friday, citing UW-Madison’s libraries, out-of-state tuition and administrative costs as all but untouchable.

In an interview with The Badger Herald, the chancellor said academic programs like the Madison Initiative, a four-year investment program aimed at strengthening UW’s academics, would likely be postponed to account for state budget cuts.

“We’ve got to look at program cuts,” he said. “That’s the obvious first target.”

In his budget address last week, Gov. Scott McCallum proposed cutting the UW System’s budget by $50.5 million, which could result in cuts up to $20 million in UW-Madison’s state budget.

Wiley told the Herald that because the administration bore the brunt of past budget cuts, UW will most likely take money from other areas this time.

“We’ve really cut the daylights out of administrative cost,” Wiley said. “There’s not a lot of fat. There may be individuals you don’t like, but that person would probably have to be replaced by someone else in the same job.”

While Wiley said nothing is off the table, it is “very unlikely” that the library budget would suffer cuts.

“We’ve worked very hard over the last 10 years to protect the library against cuts because library resources are so valuable and so important to almost everything we do,” he said. “So it’s very unlikely we would go in and cut the library budget. It’s not impossible, but it’s unlikely.”

Wiley also highlighted not raising out-of-state tuition as a top priority. Non-resident students now pay the second highest tuition in the Big Ten. Wiley said he would not support more than the current double-digit percent increase for out-of-state tuition.

“I think our out-of-state tuition is getting to the point where it is problematic in attracting out-of-state students,” he said. “We’ve already had pretty substantial increases for several years here. I’d like to make that a last resort.”

UW as a charter school

Calls for UW to secede from the UW System were answered with a resounding “no” from Wiley.

A proposal published last fall by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, a nonprofit institute that studies public-policy issues affecting Wisconsin, said UW-Madison is hurt by legislative oversight and would profit by seceding from the UW System.

“UW-Madison has too many constraints and is too limited in its access to resources,” the report said. “To be more successful, the university must be granted greater independence.”

Wiley said being a charter school would not help with the budget situation and the idea is about thirty years too late.

“Many of the things they listed as the benefits of being a charter school might have been true about the time of the merger and the formation of the system,” he said. “But time has passed them by, and the benefits are no longer true.”

UW operated independently from its founding in 1849 until the system merged in 1973. Wiley said the merger was contested at the time because opponents thought UW would be “homogenized.”

Wiley said UW-Madison needs the support of the UW System.

“I think if we were a charter school today, and not part of a system, and if it came to a battle in the state legislature between the stand-alone Madison campus, which would be viewed as the private, elitist school, and all the rest of the system, which would be viewed as the people’s school, we’d lose,” Wiley said. “We would lose 10 times out of 10 in confrontations over budget in the legislature.”

Wiley said statistics the WPRI used to support their findings were flat wrong.

“They never called me; they never asked anyone in the Madison campus any questions that I know of,” Wiley said. “They hired a consultant from the East Coast who fed them information that was way out of date.”

He said UW’s ties to other UW System institutions are fundamental to the university’s reputation and financial future.

“I honestly believe Madison cannot succeed and thrive unless the rest of the system does, too,” Wiley said.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *