The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents voted Friday to approve layoff and post-tenure review policy changes on campus.
The policy changes will allow for UW administration to fire faculty for budget and program changes and outline procedures for termination.
The changes serve as UW’s version of the broader policy provisions set into place for all UW System schools after Legislature removed tenure protections from state law last year.
The board unanimously approved the changes to employment policy for UW. The move comes after months of discussion on how to best preserve the academic integrity of faculty while adhering to the will of the state Legislature.
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Last month, the BOR accepted system-wide policy changes allowing for the termination of faculty at the discretion of each UW System school’s administration.
The board has made efforts to assure current and future faculty that their positions remain safe. UW System President Ray Cross said in a blog post that the changes would “protect the principles of academic freedom and sustain the university’s standing in a competitive, global marketplace.”
UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a blog post that the UW policy would continue allowing for open inquiry by researchers without fear of possible repercussions, despite an amendment that named Blank the final decision maker in faculty layoffs and set severance pay to 12 months instead of a variable system based on seniority.
Regents also announced the creation of a task force to examine the experiences of minority students across the UW System.