Recommendations to change the university’s tuition policy, along with a resolution to oppose a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, were heard Monday by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Faculty Senate.

Tuition Policy 

The Ad Hoc Tuition Policy Committee gave no hard recommendations for a policy change, but presented four possible alternatives to the current system. Since 2004, tuition revenue has provided more than half of the instructional budget and is expected to continue as the primary revenue source in the near future.
The committee proposed raising tuition revenue by changing the student composition, imposing a tuition increment, using tuition differentials according to each program of study or limiting tuition increases to wage indexes. Each option presents different trade-offs, members said, and the committee’s report asked the Senate to consider all of the options in the future.
Committee members said public investment is necessary to maintain the public nature of the university and a strong effort to ensure affordability is needed. According to their report, financial aid will be needed to offset threats to affordability, access and equity as tuition increases.

American Studies Association Boycott of Israeli Institutions 

Professor Donald Downs presented a resolution opposing a recent American Studies Association boycott of Israeli academic institutions, which caused some stir among the Senate. Professor Samer Alatout urged the Senate to oppose the resolution in defense of total academic freedom and said the senate needs to be better informed on the issue before coming to a decision.
The Senate passed a motion to table the resolution indefinitely, as well as another motion asking the university committee to appoint an ad-hoc committee for the issue.

Addressing Climate Change in Classes

The Senate also passed a motion presented by the Ad Hoc Committee on fossil fuel use and climate change, agreeing to look into creating more classes about climate change and integrating the issue into less-related areas of study to promote awareness.

The committee’s report also proposed carbon reduction targets and increased faculty involvement in advocating clean energy use on campus. Professor Brian Christens said the threat of climate issues is real.

“The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence suggests that the peril is not potential,” Christens said. “It is real.”

Faculty Senate will meet again on March 3, 2014.
Note: Professor Donald Downs is an advisor for The Badger Herald.