Category Archives: statements

UWM Faculty Senate Resolution Demanding UW System President Ray Cross Protect and Respect Shared Governance

On February 15, 2018, the Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee unanimously approved this resolution.

WHEREAS UW System President Ray Cross has publicly declared his support for shared governance, promising at one point on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus to resign his position if he failed to protect shared governance;

WHEREAS it has now been publicly disclosed that President Cross disparaged and intentionally circumvented shared governance in decreeing that the University of Wisconsin System be restructured, having emailed Regent Gerald Whitburn that he was “Getting hammered by the ‘shared governance’ leaders because they weren’t involved in the process; however, had they been involved we wouldn’t be doing anything!!”

WHEREAS shared governance is ultimately responsible for implementing UW System President Cross’s hasty, top-down decision that the UW Colleges be broken up and merged with four-year, comprehensive, and research universities;

WHEREAS shared governance is an essential mechanism to guarantee the accountability, transparency, and high quality education we have come to expect from the University of Wisconsin System;

WHEREAS shared governance was instrumental in helping UWM to achieve its R1 status by starting new PhD programs and raising the university’s research profile;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, hereby demands that President Cross honor his earlier pledge to protect and respect shared governance in all relevant administrative decisions regarding the UW System and its campuses.


No Confidence

Today at an unprecedented full faculty meeting, a resolution of no confidence in UW System President Ray Cross and the Board of Regents passed unanimously. Coverage in the Journal Sentinel notes that almost 300 faculty attended in a room with a 175 capacity. And there’s this:

Chancellor Mark Mone said after the meeting that in his nearly 27 years as a faculty member on campus, he had never seen anything like it. “There has not been anything so important and heartfelt in that long,” the chancellor said.

Preceding the reading of the resolution, two officers in the UWM chapter of AAUP spoke. Here are their remarks:

Rachel Ida Buff, President, UWM AAUP


We gather here today as bearers of a sacred trust. As stewards of the University of Wisconsin, we are the keepers of the Wisconsin Idea: that crucial, democratic notion that the “beneficent influence of the University (should) reach(es) every home in the state.”

Because of our dual mission of access and research, the Wisconsin Idea takes unique shape at UWM. And we have distinguished ourselves, earning esteem as a Research One and Engagement campus.

The Wisconsin Idea promotes educational democracy: the university is funded by and serves the public. Through our renowned and exemplary practices of shared governance, the University of Wisconsin has been a model of functioning democracy.

BUT In the past eighteen months, our ability to carry out our stewardship of the Wisconsin Idea has been impaired by a legislative assault on shared governance and academic freedom. This political assault has been accompanied by unprecedented fiscal cuts, impairing our ability to educate and serve our students.

We are no strangers to hard work. We are used to the slow process of shared governance. We have been patient, trying to actively participate in improving the situation. We have attended listening sessions and meetings; participated in task forces and surveys; researched and written analyses and op-eds and fact sheets.

And now, in concert with colleagues across the system, with consciousness of all we have lost and stand to lose, it finally makes sense to say it: No Confidence, rippling across the state, and beyond.

A vote for no confidence is a symbolic action:

By voting no confidence we assert that the current direction pursued by the Board of Regents and facilitated by UW system President Cross undermines the future of our university and of the Wisconsin Idea;

By voting no confidence we insist on the central role of shared governance, even in times of extraordinary difficulty. Without our inclusion in decision-making, we cannot believe in the integrity of the process nor work for a better outcome;

By voting no confidence we protest the intentional destruction of our internationally recognized university system. This destruction affects each of us professionally.

I have no confidence in the unprincipled duplicity of the Board of Regents and President Cross;

I have no confidence in the increased managerial control, the “flexibility” promoted throughout the UW system that compromises our collective job security and freedom of inquiry.

I have no confidence in a Research One/Engagement campus so deracinated that it cannot fulfil its vital missions.

But I have confidence in you, my colleagues. Together, we can affirm our sacred trust as public university employees, and the principled aspirations of the Wisconsin Idea.

Thank you.

Nick Fleisher, Vice-President, UWM AAUP

We are here today because we wish to speak with our System leaders and with the public about the course that UW System leadership has charted.

We are here because the course they have charted harms research, teaching, learning, and access.

In the past year, we have seen President Cross champion a hasty conversion of the UW System to a public authority, despite a near-total lack of detail on how the new entity would have worked.

We have seen the Board of Regents expressly decline to ask the Legislature to remove non-fiscal items affecting the UW System from the biennial budget.

We have seen a Tenure Policy Task Force that recommended policies which were never endorsed by its own members, and which were subsequently adopted by the Board of Regents despite their failure to comply with AAUP standards.

Thanks to intrepid reporting by Wisconsin journalists, we have learned that President Cross and the Regents worked actively to limit faculty input into those policies.

We have learned, most recently, that President Cross wrote approvingly to Regent Behling about “the real value of removing tenure-related policies from statutory language.”

He added that tenure should not protect faculty “when they are no longer needed in a discipline,” all while supporting policies that allow financial considerations to determine the educational needs of the institution.

And he falsely attributed to faculty the view that tenure is a “job for life,” a talking point repeated by Governor Walker in a press release issued earlier today.

All the while, our campuses have been dealing with unfunded mandates on top of massive budget cuts that harm our students’ education.

We have seen no sign of a plan from President Cross or the Regents for how to stem the tide of state funding cuts.

On the contrary, we have seen new policies meant to enable managerial flexibility: far from appeasing the Legislature, such policies are an invitation to further cuts.

Through all of this, we have seen President Cross and the Regents characterize our continual state of fiscal austerity as if it were an inevitable force of nature, rather than a deliberate political choice.

Such leadership inspires no confidence.

If we lack confidence in our leadership, we must not be afraid to say so publicly.

We must not let fear of reprisal prevent us from bringing our concerns to light.  To do so would be an abdication of our duty to the public whom we serve.

So today, we are here to advocate for those things that have made our university great and that will sustain it in the future.

We are here to advocate for those things that ensure student access to a world-class education in Wisconsin, and that affirm the University of Wisconsin as a truly public good.

Academic freedom and tenure, which is its guarantor; shared governance of the institution; access and affordability for students: these are matters on which there can be no flexibility.

To all appearances, and to the University’s great detriment, President Cross and the Regents have acted as if to carry out the designs of those who appointed them.  Today, echoing the recent comments of the president of the Association of Governing Boards, we call on them to remember “their responsibility as fiduciaries to care for the system.”

Together with students, staff, and colleagues across Wisconsin, we stand in defense of a great public University that is under attack.

Thank you.

Statement on AAUP Compliance of Proposed UW System Policies

The UW-Madison chapter of the AAUP has issued a statement urging the UW System Board of Regents to ensure that the policies on tenure, faculty layoff, and post-tenure review adopted at its meeting today are consistent with AAUP standards, and outlining several criteria for achieving AAUP compliance. The UWM AAUP executive committee endorses the statement, whose major points are reproduced below:

We applaud the UW System Faculty Representatives and faculty members of the Tenure Policy Task Force, who came together unanimously to request significant changes to the Regents’ draft policies. We further call upon the Regents to amend their policies to bring them in compliance with the 2014 Recommended Institutional Regulations of the AAUP.

Any policy that does not meet the following criteria cannot be considered consistent with AAUP’s professional standards and would diminish the standing of the University of Wisconsin System among students and citizens as well as our reputation and competitiveness among our peers:

  • Faculty shall not be laid off or terminated except in case of a bona fide financial emergency or a formal program discontinuance based essentially on educational considerations as determined by the faculty.
  • Educational considerations are distinct from financial considerations and shall not include comparative cost or cost-effectiveness analysis of programs or the need to reallocate resources to other programs that are considered to be higher priority.
  • Any faculty committee responsible for participating in the determination of the existence of a financial emergency, determining criteria for program discontinuance, and/or reviewing programs for discontinuance shall be duly elected by the faculty or appointed by an elected faculty body.
  • Determinations of the Board of Regents regarding the existence of a financial emergency or program discontinuance for educational considerations should concur with faculty judgment except in rare instances and for compelling reasons which should be stated in detail.
  • In the case of financial emergency, all feasible alternatives to layoff or termination of appointments shall be pursued prior to laying off faculty.
  • Faculty review hearings in the case of layoff or termination for financial emergency may question the existence and extent of the condition of financial emergency and whether all feasible alternatives to layoff or termination of appointments were pursued, with the burden of proof resting on the administration.
  • In the case of program discontinuance for educational considerations, every effort shall be made to place the faculty member in a suitable alternative position.
  • Faculty review hearings in the case of layoff or termination for program discontinuance may question whether the conditions for discontinuance were essentially educational, as determined primarily by the faculty, and whether every effort was made to place the faculty member in a suitable alternative position, with the burden of proof resting on the administration.
  • Program reduction through modification or redirection resulting in faculty layoff or termination shall not be permitted.
  • Program reduction through curtailment resulting in faculty layoff or termination shall only be permitted in case of bona fide financial emergency.
  • In the event that a faculty member is laid off or terminated as the result of program discontinuance for educational considerations, faculty shall receive severance in accordance with AAUP Recommended Institutional Regulation 8.
  • Faculty shall have the right to challenge the findings and correct the record of any post-tenure review or remediation plan by appeal to an elected faculty grievance committee.

We urge the Regents to remember our legacy and preserve it for future generations of scholars, for the benefit of the people of Wisconsin.

UWM AAUP Calls on the Board of Regents to Support and Sustain UWM’s Research and Access Missions

FOR RELEASE: February 10, 2016

UWM AAUP Calls on the Board of Regents to Support and Sustain UWM’s Research and Access Missions

The eyes of the country are on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) this week as the campus hosts a Democratic presidential debate. What will UWM look like the next time it hosts a presidential debate? The answer may depend on actions taken by the Board of Regents in the very near future.

UWM plays a vital and unique role in public higher education in Wisconsin. Of the 26 UW System campuses, UWM is the only one with both a research mission and an access mission. Situated in one of the most segregated cities in the United States, UWM is the “urban access campus” of the UW System. UWM combines world-class doctoral research programs with an open door for students from the Milwaukee region and around the state, fulfilling the mission of the Wisconsin Idea: to extend the boundaries of the university to the boundaries of the state. No other Wisconsin institution puts all of this on a single campus.

UWM’s research mission is achieving unprecedented success: just last week, UWM joined the ranks of the “highest research activity,” or R1, universities in the Carnegie Classifications for the first time. UWM’s access mission is reflected in the fact that UWM educates the most Wisconsin residents, the most veterans, and the most students of color of any institution in the UW System.

Unfortunately, all of this is now at risk. Massive funding cuts, combined with destructive and unnecessary changes to tenure and shared governance, threaten to undermine UWM’s research mission and degrade the quality of the education that UWM’s students have access to. The campus now finds itself in an acute budget crisis, with major cuts to core functions looming. What is more, rumors have begun to swirl out of Madison: some Regents have suggested that the UW System cannot afford to support two research campuses.

UWM AAUP calls on the Board of Regents to affirm its support for UWM’s research mission via resolution at its upcoming meeting on March 10. We furthermore call on the Board of Regents to outline explicit steps for increasing funding to UWM, commensurate with our dual research and access missions and our newfound R1 status. UWM currently receives less than half the funding per student that our R1 peer, UW-Madison, receives from the UW System.

The Regents have a choice to make: UWM’s unique blend of research excellence and broad public access cannot survive under the present conditions of fiscal austerity.


Notes on Tenure Policy Task Force draft policies

UW AAUP Chapters (Madison, Milwaukee, Whitewater): Response to Tenure Policy Task Force draft policies on faculty layoff and post-tenure review, Dec 23, 2015

  • Post-tenure review: We remain unconvinced that these changes to existing post-tenure review would pass a benefit-cost test, particularly in light of the significant administrative overhead these procedures would entail and the lack of resources for professional development and recognition of merit. We draw attention to three specific issues:
    • 1) the term “reviewing individual” (12b-12f) is worrisome: review should be conducted by a body of faculty peers [see AAUP Minimum Standards for Good Practice If a Formal System of Post-Tenure Review is Established, #3];
    • 2) the faculty’s right to contest a review and correct the record should be through institutional grievance procedures or a secondary review committee [See AAUP Minimum Standards, #8], not through an appeal to the dean (12h);
    • 3) it should be made clear in 12g that “the standard for dismissal or other severe sanction remains that of adequate cause, and the mere fact of successive negative reviews does not in any way diminish the obligation of the institution to show such cause” [AAUP Minimum Standards, #10].  Effective language addressing these three concerns is already present in the recently adopted UW-Madison policies and procedures on post-tenure review (passed on Nov 2), which we suggest be used as a baseline for those adopted by the Regents.
  • Educational considerations: We believe that the draft policy on “Faculty Layoff for Reasons of Program Discontinuance” injects financial considerations into the definition of educational considerations to a worrying extent. If financial considerations are to be used as a factor in program discontinuance decisions, they should be supported by full openness and disclosure of financial documentation, as in cases of financial emergency. References to the relevant financial disclosure requirements from UWS 5 should be inserted into the section on program discontinuance.
  • Faculty in discontinued programs: The section on program discontinuance should include a provision stating that the institution will make every effort to place affected faculty in another suitable position, with the university funding retraining as necessary (see AAUP Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure, section 4(d)(3)).
  • Curtailment, modification, and redirection: The draft policy should contain an explicit injunction against using the Board’s statutory power to terminate or lay off faculty for budget or program decisions resulting in program curtailment, modification, or redirection. For example, paragraph 1 of the “Faculty Layoff for Reasons of Program Discontinuance” could be amended to include the following sentence: “Notwithstanding the authority granted to the Board of Regents under Wis. Stat. 36.22, no faculty member shall be laid off or terminated as the result of program curtailment, modification, or redirection for educational considerations.”
  • Timeline: The four-month timeline for moving from the Faculty Senate’s receipt of a program discontinuance proposal to the faculty committee recommendation (three months) and on to the chancellor’s recommendation (one additional month) is insufficient for serious, research-based decision-making taking into account either educational or financial considerations. The timeline for the faculty committee and chancellor’s recommendations should be increased significantly, e.g. to eight months and one year (i.e. four additional months), respectively, from the Faculty Senate’s receipt of a program discontinuance proposal.
  • Feasible alternatives: In the “Policy” preamble to the faculty layoff document, the word “considered” should be changed to “pursued” in the following sentence, to better reflect AAUP guidelines (AAUP RIR): “Accordingly, faculty layoff will be invoked only in extraordinary circumstances and after all feasible alternatives have been considered.”

On UW System Austerity and UWM’s Structural Deficit

Press Release: On UW System Austerity and UWM’s Structural Deficit
For Release: Monday, December 7 @ 4 pm
Press Conference: After UWM Budget Meeting (8:30 am, Tuesday 12/8), 9:30 am, Union Ballroom East, UWM

[PDF of press release available here]

Summary: The current crisis in the UW System disproportionately affects UWM, the only UW System campus with both research and access missions. Broad student access to UWM has been negatively impacted by inequitable funding from the state, and this in turn threatens the ability of UWM to serve the diverse Milwaukee community. UWM enrolls students from across metro Milwaukee and around the state, and serves 40% of the students of color enrolled in the UW System. Inadequate state allocations to UWM have yielded politically produced austerity, undercutting democratic access to public education in Milwaukee. This parallels many other forms of underfunding and downright abandonment of the state’s largest city.

UWM’s current structural deficit would be eliminated if the UW System increased UWM’s per-student funding allocation to just half the level that UW-Madison receives. UWM AAUP calls on the UW System, the UWM administration, and our elected representatives to ensure equitable support for UWM.

As the Chancellor’s Campus Organization and Effectiveness Team (CCOET) has set out to address the structural deficit at UWM, serious questions have been raised about whether the development and eventual implementation of the committee’s recommendations adhere to established shared governance practices. UWM AAUP would like to redirect attention to CCOET’s charge: the task of closing an ongoing annual budget deficit of $15-$20 million. This task has been presented to the campus community as urgent and necessary, its seriousness self-evident, its resolution the sole responsibility of UWM. Not closing the deficit—or demanding outside help in doing so—is, by implication, unthinkable.

Among the chief causes of UWM’s structural deficit is the institution’s chronic underfunding by the University of Wisconsin (UW) System. Each year, state appropriations are passed to the UW System for allocation to its 26 colleges and universities. As UWM has pursued its state-mandated dual missions of access and research, its per-student funding from the UW System has dropped below half that of its doctoral cluster peer, UW-Madison, which lacks an access mission. As Figure 1 shows, while UW-Madison receives more than $12,400 per student, UWM receives less than $5,200 per student.


This underfunding is deplorable in light of UWM’s unique dual mission of access and research. UWM educates more Wisconsin residents than any other university, and 40% of the students of color in the UW System are enrolled at UWM.

For over a decade, increasing enrollments have allowed UWM to accommodate this structural inequality through growth. Now that UWM’s enrollments are impacted—in part by increased in-state admissions at UW-Madison—it is time for the UW System to address this ongoing inequity. The present crisis demands a direct remedy for the persistent inequality in funding that undermines the health and well being of the state’s most racially and socioeconomically diverse public university.

Approximately half of UWM’s structural deficit has already been addressed through the FY17 cuts proposed by the Budget Planning Task Force (base budget cuts of $14.5 million). UWM’s administration must demand that the remaining deficit be filled through increased funding from the UW System. If UWM’s per-student (FTE) funding from the UW System were increased to just half the level that UW-Madison receives, this would yield an additional $23.6 million allocation to UWM (at 2013-14 levels; see Figure 2). This is enough to eliminate the remaining structural deficit.

To repeat: increasing UWM’s per-student funding to just half of UW-Madison’s level would eliminate UWM’s remaining structural deficit.


We recognize that funds are scarce across the UW system, and we know that faculty, students, and staff at other campuses have felt the pinch of recent cuts. But the acute nature of the present crisis at UWM requires immediate action.

Residents across Wisconsin understand the consequences of economic inequality, as they are increasingly locked out of essential opportunities. We call on UWM’s administration to do the supposedly unthinkable: to reject fiscal austerity. We call on the UW System, the Governor, and the Wisconsin State Legislature to protect and advance UWM’s vital research and access missions. A commitment to accessible, democratic public higher education in Wisconsin demands no less.

Statement to Tenure Policy Task Force

Joint Statement of the UW-Milwaukee AAUP, UW-Whitewater AAUP, and UW-Madison AAUP executive committees to the UW System Tenure Policy Task Force

Milwaukee, Whitewater, and Madison, 17 September 2015

The University of Wisconsin has a one hundred year-long tradition of upholding the principles of academic freedom and shared governance as set forth by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).  Throughout the history of the AAUP, UW faculty members have played a leading role in establishing these principles and recommendations.  UW-Madison Economics Professor Richard T. Ely, whose trial led to the Regents’ famous and inspired defense of “fearless sifting and winnowing,” served on the AAUP committee that drafted the 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure.  The hard-earned reputation of the UW System as one of the finest public institutions of higher education in the world was built upon this foundation and will stand or fall on its structural integrity.

In the interest of ensuring that the UW System Tenure Policy Task Force achieves its stated goal of crafting a tenure policy that complies with established AAUP standards, we draw the Task Force’s attention to the following principles:

  1. An AAUP-compliant tenure policy depends on AAUP-compliant shared-governance practices. Without shared-governance practices that conform to AAUP standards, it is impossible to craft a tenure policy that conforms to AAUP standards.
  2. Board of Regents policy on review, layoff, or termination of tenure appointments must reflect the prerogatives of faculty shared-governance bodies spelled out in the AAUP’s Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure (in particular section 4d(1)).

With these principles in mind, we call on the Tenure Policy Task Force to make the following recommendations to the Board of Regents:

  1. Adopt permanently in Board of Regents policy the definition of “tenure appointment” that was removed from Chapter 36 of Wisconsin statutes under 2015 Act 55.
  2. Adopt a statement of principle that articulates the primary responsibilities of faculty in meaningful shared governance.  Such a statement should conform with section 5 of the Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities jointly formulated by the AAUP, the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB).
  3. Ensure that Board of Regents policy regarding termination of appointments due to “program discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection” (36.21) codifies the authority of faculty shared-governance bodies in making such determinations and decisions, as stipulated in the AAUP’s Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure (sec. 4d(1)) and the AAUP’s report on The Role of the Faculty in Conditions of Financial Exigency.
  4. Ensure that Board of Regents policy regarding post-tenure review codifies the authority of faculty shared-governance bodies in crafting and carrying out such policies, and does not add new avenues for termination of a tenure appointment beyond those already contemplated under program modification or dismissal for cause, in keeping with the AAUP’s statement on Post-Tenure Review.

We hope that these principles and recommendations will be useful to the Tenure Policy Task Force in carrying out its charge, and that they will help steer the Board of Regents toward policies that ensure compliance with AAUP standards and avoid the possibility of AAUP censure.