University of Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank responded with concern and disapproval to a UW Faculty Senate announcement that it plans to vote on a “no confidence” resolution regarding the Board of Regents and UW System President, Ray Cross.
In a blog post Tuesday, Blank acknowledged the anger and frustration faculty have felt toward changes made over the past year, which includes tenure, but voiced her disapproval of the Faculty Senate’s resolution.
Faculty Senate to vote on no-confidence resolution toward Ray Cross, Board of RegentsUniversity of Wisconsin’s Faculty Senate released its plan Monday to vote on a resolution expressing no confidence in UW System President Ray Read…
Fearing the resolution will only create division between UW faculty and the board, Blank said she opposes it and hopes the Faculty Senate will not officially endorse it.
Considering UW often partners with the regents and makes annual requests for approval of UW policies, Blank said such a resolution has a high chance of resulting in “substantial negative effects.”
“Many staff and faculty at UW-Madison work daily with the staff under the authority and leadership of President Cross,” Blank said. “I can personally attest that he has consistently advanced the best interest of our campus, both publicly and behind the scenes. He does not deserve this resolution.”
Rep. Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said in a statement that the actions UW governing members have taken show an “arrogance” that does not serve their university or students well.
Steineke said the vote demonstrates the “disconnect” between UW faculty who believe their jobs have a “forever guarantee” and the average Wisconsin family struggling to get by.
“These changes should not be used to retaliate against President Ray Cross or the UW Board of Regents whose leadership and vision for the UW System is exactly what we need during this time,” Steineke said.
Dave Vanness, associate professor of population health sciences, said he understands the chancellor’s concerns and the difficult position she has been put in. He said it’s important to see the resolution as more than just a statement highlighting a lack of confidence in the UW System leadership, but a call for better leadership.
The vote won’t result in the replacement of UW System leaders, but is important because it demonstrates the faculty’s “grave concern” that the budget cuts and other changes this year are threatening the quality of education, Vanness said.
“Our leadership has not fought against those changes — they have embraced them, and the students and citizens of the state deserve better,” he said.
Cross has not made a statement in response to the vote due to it being a “faculty matter,” but Alex Hummel, UW System spokesperson, said Cross and the regents recognize and respect the concerns the Faculty Senate have a right to voice.
Hummel said Cross and the regents are currently addressing the results of the budget impacts released earlier this month, and have been reaching out to students to determine how they can best improve their experiences.
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Next week the Faculty Senate will make a decision whether to endorse the resolution or not. Vanness said the original statement UW professor Chad Goldberg wrote will likely change prior to the vote.
Blank said UW can live with changes to tenure and policies the Board of Regents previously approved and hopes the Faculty Senate will consider this in their meeting.
“I very much hope that the UW Faculty Senate will not give its endorsement to this counterproductive resolution,” Blank said. “I believe it will only reduce support for us at a time we need to communicate our value to the citizens of Wisconsin as strongly as possible.”