Monday, February 9, 2015

Want to get paid to bash a governor? UW-Madison employees can


AP file photo
AP file photo
PAYS TO LISTEN: UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank will lead a series of budget forums to rap about Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed cuts to the University of Wisconsin System budget. Employees will be paid to attend.

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON, Wis. — Here’s how to not save money at the “struggling” University of Wisconsin-Madison: Pay all of your employees to attend university-led propaganda presentations to hammer home just how “devastating” Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget cuts will be.
That’s exactly what Chancellor Rebecca Blank plans to do.
Blank sent out a memo last week to all students, faculty and staff to inform them of a series of upcoming budget forums to be held this week.
“I invite you to attend so I can give you the latest information on how the budget will affect UW-Madison and take your questions and input,” the chancellor wrote.
Employees may attend without loss of pay, according to the memo.
And to make sure her budget nightmare message is clear, interpretation services for Hmong, Chinese, Spanish and Tibetan will be offered. In fact, copies of the memo were sent out in those languages.
The first of the hour-long sessions will be held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Additional forums “delving more deeply into issues affecting undergraduate and graduate students” will be scheduled later in February, Blank wrote.
Parking is free.
Walker’s proposed two-year state budget calls for about $300 million in cuts to theUniversity of Wisconsin System’s budget, including $86 million in reductions at UW-Madison, according to Blank.
Walker also proposes giving the System more autonomy, a move that is expected to strengthen the System’s fiscal position in time. The governor is calling for another two-year freeze on tuition, something System administrators seem to especially dread.
“Adding together all of the recent cuts, it would amount to a $86 million annual reduction for UW-Madison,” Blank wrote.
“Never in its 160-year history has the university faced cuts of this magnitude. If these reductions take effect as proposed, they will trigger employee layoffs and cuts to programs around campus,” she said. “I am deeply troubled by how this proposal would harm our students’ education along with our hard-working, dedicated faculty and staff.”
Perhaps, fiscal observers say, the proposed budget cuts would help rein in the System’s priorities, making it focus on what is most efficient and effective in delivering education to students.
But Blank says it’s just “too big.” So she’s calling out the troops, emailing UW-Madison’s alumni to shower Walker and legislators with written demands that they cut the cuts.


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